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Early eighteenth century literary critics thought the King James Bible had 'all the disadvantages of an old prose translation.' But from the 1760s on criticism became increasingly favourable. In the nineteenth century it swelled into a chorus of praise for 'the noblest monument of English prose'. This volume traces how that reversal of opinion came about. The story of the development of modern literary discussion of the Bible in general is told also, showing not only how criticism has shaped understanding of the Bible but how the Bible has shaped literary criticism.