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Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bibleby David Teems
Synopses & Reviews
Written with a touch of the irreverent, Majestie is a shared biography: that of the first Stuart King of England (James I) and the Bible that goes by his name. It is part tabloid, part history lesson, part speculation; but it's all James.
A biography of James Stuart is a study in paradox, one that entertains as much as it informs. James I waddles through history, sidewise and crablike. Intellectually astute, he can dazzle and charm with the polish of his rhetoric one minute, and speak with the vulgarity of a tavern bawd the next. James is an amusing mix of bombast and majesty, of sparkle and grime, of smut and brilliance, of visionary headship and foolishness. And only he, this all-too-human king, our flawed James, could have given us the great book he did.
Early in his reign, James fashioned himself as the new Solomon, the pacifist prince entering the the land of promise, that is, the England inherited from his cousin Elizabeth. But the milk and honey he expected was a mirage. Still, in many respects he flirts with greatness. He is the first king of a united, or Great Britain. For all his foibles, all his bungling, James possesses an evolved sense of majesty, a type of faith in majesty itself, and wants nothing more than for his new Bible to reflect this majesty, to gild and elevate the reign, to be the great medicine that might heal the realm.
Colorful, witty, imperfect, sensuous, bawdy, intelligent, England has had no king like him, nor any book like the one he bequeathed us, before or since.
"For generations, Protestant Christians trusted the King James version of the Bible as the only Bible, dictated to good divines word for word, inerrant in every way, and motivated by a true devotion to God and to the Most Holy Faith. Over time, however, scholars have come to dismiss the idea of the inspiration of the King James version, opening the way for a variety of modern biblical translations. So who was this king who commissioned this version of the Bible? Teems's engrossing and entertaining study of King James I offers a multifaceted view of this 17th-century scholar/scoundrel, a man of counterpoints and contradictions. James is presented as a study in contrasts--a man given to saintly proclamations and vulgar outbursts, but a man who yearned for his own immortality as well as the perpetuity of the monarchy and the patriarchal order, all enshrined in the pages of his Holy Bible. Teems, an active Bible teacher and musician, pulls together the story of this enigmatic king with humor and pathos. This early entry in a full-court press of books marking the 400th anniversary of the translation is a delightful read in every way. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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