Saturday, November 28, 2015

In the Beginning...

I can't help myself. I don't mean to start watching and I tell myself I can stop when I choose. But it all goes horribly wrong and I'm ashamed of myself afterward. Ya, I enjoy the guilty pleasure of the Antiques Road Show. Think about it. It's bizarre to watch a show where others discover that they have valuable stuff and you don't. And while some of the items are intriguing, a lot of them are ugly an/or useless.

Recently there was an "antiques road show" sort of discovery in the biblical archeology world. It is the oldest known draft of the King James Bible. An American scholar doing research at a university in Britain found a notebook that had belonged to a 17th century biblical scholar. It took a while for Jeffrey Miller to realize that he had a unique treasure, the working notes for the English version of the bible which arguably changed the world. The paperback sized notebook dates from 1604 to 1608.

So what? Who actually reads the KJV anymore? In 2011, the four hundredth anniversary of the King James Version, I couldn't muster any interest from my ministerial colleagues to honour the occasion, even though many of them came from denominations which had insisted that the KJV was the only "authentic" version only a few decades ago.

I can't say that the unearthing of these notes make any real difference in my life, but I am fascinated that in a era of limited communication and painstaking efforts to write things down, a passel of individual scholars made contributions which eventually became a monumental literary achievement. Now we can see how one of those scholars, Samuel Ward, scribbled down his thoughts as he worked from one language to another.

So, I will declare it cool, and I'll continue to steal a look at the Road Show from time to time.


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