Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Zondervan KJV 1611 400th Anniversary Edition

A Really Brief Review

1300 pages, Old and New Testaments;
plus charts and Bible reading plans.
Published by Zondervan

As I noted in my previous article, Wal-Mart has for sale the 400th anniversary edition of the KJV 1611 published by Zondervan. I picked up a copy over the weekend and had the opportunity to thumb through it. I thought I would offer a brief review.

This Bible is really meant to be a collectors item. If you are hoping for a well crafted leather bound Bible, this isn't it. The cover is rather cheap, even though it is a hardback. I have had my copy since Saturday and I already have a tear forming on the bottom edge of the spine. The paper is also cheap. The pages have a newspaper feel to them, rather than what you may feel from a normal Bible. But this is meant to be an "economically priced keepsake" as the opening note from the Zondervan publishers states, so I would imagine they did not mean it to be a day-to-day, general use Bible.

The Bible is a digital replica of the original 1611 KJV, so in spite of the cheapness of the material book, the copy is amazingly clear and concise. Zondervan is to be commended for doing a good job with the reproduction of such an important work. In fact, the copy more than makes up for the low quality of the actual book, so you're not wasting your 5 dollars if you purchase it.

Basically, it is the Old and New Testaments as they were published in the original 1611 edition. Regrettably, the Apocrypha has been left out to make the book more manageable. Again, I am sure this was also done to reduce cost and keep the size at a minimum. The Bible is already 8 1/4 by 5 1/2 inches in height and width and it is almost 3 inches thick. The extra books would have easily added another 1/2 inch. I personally think it would have been worth it, but oh well.

Because this Bible is the KJV 1611, the old, Gothic lettering is used and the spelling and language reflects how folks wrote in the 17th century. So for example, "Psalms" is spelled "Pfalmes," "Job" is "Iob," and words like "wisdom" is spelled "wifdome," and "David," "Dauid." You get the picture. In other words, a person has to concentrate to read through the passages.

What is neat about this edition is the little extras I previously didn't know about. For example, there is the entire original essay of the translators to the readers. Most KJV only ministries published KJV Bibles and include just the opening dedication to King James I. I own a super wide-margin KJV with the dedication, and when I was a young, naive Christian, falsely believed this was the essay by the translators to the readers. It is not.

Moreover, there are 30 some odd pages of all the major genealogies found in the Bible illustrated in genealogical "trees." For me, discovering these wonderful illustrations more than made up for the cheapness of the book. The illustrations begin with Adam and Eve, and include such individuals as Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, all of the 12 sons of Jacob, the Kohathites, Esau, David, and many others. There is even an alphabetical table of all the nations of Canaan surrounding Israel, along with a detailed (for 17th century folks, anyways) map of the land of Israel.

The one drawback to the table and map, however, is the smallness of the font. It's like -0.2 picas or something. In other words, you seriously have to get out a magnifying glass to read the words and see the map. But I guess that is to be expected if you have to reduce the 15'' by 12'' folio sized original to a handheld version.

One final interesting item to note is the Bible and prayer reading plans. Remember, the KJV is an Anglican Bible, so the translators created an extended table incorporating the readings from the Book of Common prayer with the Bible readings. Even more interesting is how they match all of this data with the rising and setting of the sun and moon to the corresponding months in minutes and degrees. There is almost a Zodiac like feel to the whole thing, which makes me wonder what KJV onlyists would think of it.

At any rate, regardless of the low quality paper and cover, overall, I believe this Bible is worth your 5 dollars (or $5.15 with tax if you are in CA). Even if you are a pastor or teacher who has moved in the direction of the "electronic library" for your Bibles and books, it is not very often the reproduction of a major, historical Bible is made available at such a cheap cost. You don't want to pass it by.

One final note. Zondervan obtained their original 1611 from the world's largest dealer in rare and antique Bibles and theological books. They have a Bible Museum in Goodyear, Arizona, west of the metro-Phoenix area, located oddly in a Hampton Inn off the 10 freeway. I have literally been traveling by it to see in-laws for nearly a decade and I had no idea the place existed. I already have a visit intended for our next trip to see papa.



Blogger Peter said...

“Psalms” is spelled “Pfalmes,” “Job” is “Iob,” and words like “wisdom” is spelled “wifdome.”

On British TV, there have been some jokes about long 's' — ſ — being confused with an f, many of them unrepeatable. But until around WWI, the ſ in “Pſalms” and “wiſdom,” etc. was thought to be more elegant, if harder to read.

Your keen observation that the annual Bible readings in the old Church of England were pinned to Easter, making the schedule look astrological, makes a good chuckle. But I think that even if we remember that the the old C of E was Calvinist until the Tractarian movement was assimilated (recall the earlier Whitefield and the earlier debates between Wesley and Augustus Toplady), the Arminian KJVO would be the more dismayed.

1:19 PM, June 06, 2011  
Blogger The Squirrel said...

I picked up a copy yesterday. I'm quite pleased with it, for $5! Thanks for the heads up :o)


3:58 PM, June 08, 2011  

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