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It is regarded as a truism that the King James Bible is one of the finest pieces of English prose. Yet few people are aware that the King James Bible was generally scorned or ignored as English writing for a century and a half after its publication. The reputation of this Bible is the central, most fascinating, element in a larger history, that of literary ideas of the Bible as they have come into and developed in English culture; and the first volume of David Norton's magisterial two-volume work surveys and analyses a comprehensive range of these ideas from biblical times to the end of the seventeenth century, providing a unique view of the Bible and translation.