The Bible in English

The Bible in English: its history and influence

David Daniell
Yale University Press; 2003; £24.95; Hardback; xx. 900p.;
ISBN 03000099304

Before going home we glanced at the bookstall. To my surprise Peneleope asked if I should like for my birthday Professor David Daniell’s The Bible in English. The morning had been taken up with the author’s stimulating lecture on William Tyndale. Hastily agreeing lest I should lose the present I was unsurprised to see the dedication to this ‘translator of genius, martyred for giving English readers the Bible from the original languages’.

Having tried to summarise the contents of this enormous tome, I reluctantly gave up. Instead I refer our erudite members to David Norton’s detailed review in the Journal of Theological Studies (Oct. 2004), pp. 696-702. He pulls no punches. Virtually every paragraph has adverse criticism alongside praise; but he ends with this:

“In the later chapters that pursue the theme of artists and the Bible, the concentration is not always squarely on the artists in relation to the Bible, so some of the sections such as that on Blake seem tangential and like missed opportunities. Nevertheless, read as separate essays when necessary, they are illuminating. They suggest ways of meeting the challenge of giving a really good account of the Bible in the life of English literature, music and art.”

Contributed by: John S. Andrews, MA, PhD, MCLIP, a Life Vice-President of CLIS and a former Sub-Librarian of the University of Lancaster