The story of the translation of the Bible in America begins with the King James Version. In fact, many Americans thought of the KJV as the foundational text of the Republic, rather than a cultural inheritance from Anglican Britain. In the nineteenth century, however, as new editions of the Greek New Testament appeared, scholars increasingly recognized significant errors and inconsistencies in the KJV. This soon 1ed to the Bible revision movement, whose goal was the uniting of all English-speaking Protestants behind one new, improved version of the Bible. Ironically, as Peter Thuesen shows in this fascinating history, the revision movement in fact resulted in a vast proliferation of English scripture editions and an enduring polarization of American Christians over versions of Holy Writ. The recurrent controversies over Bible translations, he argues, tell us less about the linguistic issues dividing conservatives and liberals than about the theological assumptions they have long held in common.
Peter J. Thuesen is Associate Professor of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
"A first-rate intellectual history of Protestants' elusive quest for the perfect English translation of the Bible."--Publishers Weekly
"Scrupulous scholarship provides a much-needed historical context for the fiery polemics of clerics who turned the new translations of the Bible into a battlefield....With subtle insight, Thuesen examines American Protestants' demands that the holy text be examined against the empirical record of events, explaining in the process why the divisive implications of this historical consciousness remained submerged so long....he shrewdly dissects the expedients Protestants have had to adopt to resolve the crisis in interpretive authority....no one who wants to understand the place of the Bible in American culture can ignore this book."--Booklist
"[Thuesen] clearly and conclusively demonstrates in this tightly written monograph that broader cultural and intellectual issues permeated the debate and that the 'RSV moment' in American Christianity significantly altered the religious landscape in ironic and unexpected ways...excellent and accessible...provides important insights into a topic too often ignored by scholars."--American Historical Review
"The achievement of this book is that it demonstrates that the historical and literary discoveries of the 19th century became the theological controversies of the 20th century....[The] information offered here about how the Bible has been translated to suit theological tastes and publishers' expectations of profits is shocking indeed."--Library Journal
"[Thuesen's] study yields a veritable cornucopia of insights into Protestant Bible translation...a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the history of English Bible translation in the United States."--Christianity Today