General Introduction
– Do suits make you smarter?
– Pardon Michial’s head cold
– A plug for the CWC

The History of the King James Version
– And the Bibles that preceded it
– The battle over footnotes
– The Geneva Bible
– A unity text

The KJV’s Influence on English-Language Literature
– Emerson and the prophet books
– Melville’s Shakespearean Bible
– The influence of Pilgrim’s Progress
– Twain eviscerates the Book of Mormon
– Walt Whitman the thundering god
– The KJV and the 19th-century cult
– Byron’s libertinism and guilt
– The Divine Voice in J.B.

Literalist Translation
– What does it mean, anyway?
– Dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence
– The Jehovah’s Witnesses and the English-Greek code
– Use of older translations
– The lost Revelation
– Explaining the metaphor

The KJV-Only Controversy
– Deconstructing King James inerrancy
– The manuscript view
– A new kind of Gnosticism?
– Jerome’s riot

The Poetic Virtues of the KJV
– A merit beyond the literary
– Self-conscious archaism
– Leaving the poetry intact
– David Grubbs: a man of many machetes
– What do we use the KJV for?
– Reading the Bible


Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 2009.

Bunyan, John. Pilgrim’s Progress. New York: Penguin, 2009.

Byron, George Gordon Lord. The Major Works. Ed. Jerome J. McGann. New York: Oxford UP, 2008.

Carson, D.A. The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 1978.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays and Lectures. Ed. Joel Porte. New York: Library of America, 1983.

MacLeish, Archibald. J.B. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. New York: Norton, 2001.

Newbrough, John B. Oahspe. Seattle: BookSurge, 2009.

Twain, Mark. Roughing It. New York: Penguin, 1981.

White, James R. The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? Bloomington, Minn.: Bethany House, 2009.

Whitman, Walt. Poetry and Prose. Ed. Justin Kaplan. New York: Library of America, 1996.

5 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #40: The King James Version”
  1. When I was in a Christian college in the 1970s college students, in droves, were dumping the KJV, and I was one of them. I went to the NASV, then to the RSV, later, the NIV, then settled with the NRSV. But something happened along the way. I fell back in love with the KJV.

    Not that I use it for study; I prefer the NRSV for that. But I missed the poetry of the KJV. I now use it daily to read the Psalms, and if I have the time, a chapter or two elsewhere in the Bible that may be peaking my interest.

    I truly believe that we have lost something as a Church and culture when we became “too good for it”. I wish that the evangelical, and progressive, churches could have kept a place for it. The language, especially for God, gave the worship of the church a lift above the ordinary.

    I consider myself a very progressive Christian. I grew up in the Non-Instrumental Church of Christ, and I imagine that there are few, even among those that consider themselves progressive, that would feel comfortable with my presence. But there is a part of me that once again, when I’m sitting alone, prefers “Thee” and Thou” for God in my prayers. Oh, I still say “you” in my short prayers as I go about the business of the day; but the poetry takes the ordinary day that God does work in and makes it more of a melody.

  2. Great episode, guys.

    I must confess that I made my way to your site primarily in order to show how smart I am, to wit, so that I could point out that plant, is not in fact Anglo-Saxon but Latin in origin (from planta); its being monosyllabic, beginning with a consonant cluster, and pertaining to the mundane life does make it seem as though it came from good English stock. And it really does, since it was probably taken over from Latin sometime before the Anglo-Saxon period, perhaps at least during the period of West Germanic unity, given the evidence of German Pflanze, whose borrowing of the word prior to the Old English period is implied by its having undergone the second phase of the High German sound shift. 😉

    Yes, I’m really that shallow. It’s just that this is the most unique contribution an historical linguist like myself could ever contribute to erudite and eclectic conversations like yours!

    Seriously, though — keep it up, gentlemen. Good topics and great discussion, even when I disagree with you.

  3. Grubbs meet Steve, Steve meet Grubbs.

    Now my worlds have officially collided. All we need now is for an ad[hoc]Christian Humanist Podcast mashup to occur. =)

  4. Steve, you’re absolutely right, and when I was doing show prep, I only planned on mentioning thorn, tree, and bleed (as opposed to stimulus, arbor, or sanguinate). I can’t say what possessed me to locate “plant,” whose Latin roots I knew, in the Old English tradition.

    In other words, good catch, and mea culpa. 😉

  5. Yes, you can thank that Bad Christian fellow for introducing me to your show!

    Nathan, the depravity of my decision to seize that petty “gotcha” moment will be even more apparent when I tell you that I was already guessing it was merely a slip of the tongue. As someone with a (very) little experience at podcasting, I know how that is! 😀

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