Before the English founded Jamestown in the Virginia Colony on May 14, 1607, work had already begun on what has been called the noblest monument of English prose. The Authorized Version of the Bible, more commonly known as the King James Version because it was translated under the authority of King James I of England, was begun in 1604. The year 2011 marks the quatercentenary, or four-hundredth anniversary, of its publication. But although we know the day and month of the founding of Jamestown, all we know about the publication date of the Authorized Version is the year appearing on its title page--1611. Although the King James Bible was not the first Bible translation into English from the original languages--that honor goes to William Tyndale in 1526--it is widely regarded as the most important and most influential English translation of the Bible. But that is not all. The King James Bible is also universally recognized as a significant literary work and a landmark in the history of the English language. To many it is all these things and, more importantly, the word of God in English.
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