God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible

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Harper Collins, 2009 M10 13 - 336 pages


“This scrupulously elegant account of the creation of what four centuries of history has confirmed is the finest English-language work of all time, is entirely true to its subject: Adam Nicolson’s lapidary prose is masterly, his measured account both as readable as the curious demand and as dignified as the story deserves.”  — Simon Winchester, author of Krakatoa

In God's Secretaries, Adam Nicolson gives a fascinating and dramatic account of the era of the King James Bible and its translation, immersing us in an age whose greatest monument is not a painting or a building but a book.

A network of complex currents flowed across Jacobean England. This was the England of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Bacon; the era of the Gunpowder Plot and the worst outbreak of the plague. Jacobean England was both more godly and less godly than the country had ever been, and the entire culture was drawn taut between these polarities. 

This was the world that created the King James Bible. It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment "Englishness," specifically the English language itself, had come into its first passionate maturity. The English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own scope than any form of the language before or since. It drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

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User Review  - Peter Paul Banzon - Christianbook.com

Adam Nicolson poignantly brings us back to Jacobean England using poetic language disguising itself as prose. He makes no pretense that this is a scholarly work about the process of translation with ... Read full review

User Review  - Christie Hanses - Christianbook.com

This book gives insights into this translation of The Bible without diminishing its spiritual inspiration. It provides an increased appreciation of the massive undertaking involved and the ... Read full review


A poore man now arrived at the Land
The multitudes of people covered the beautie
He sate among graue learned and reuerend
Faire and softly goeth far
The danger never dreamt of that is the danger
O lett me bosome thee lett me preserve thee
We have twice and thrice so much scope
When we do luxuriate and grow riotous
True Religion is in no way a gargalisme only
The grace of the fashion of it
Hath God forgotten to be gracious?
A The Sixteenthcentury Bible

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About the author (2009)

Adam Nicols on is the author of Seamanship, God's Secretaries, and Seize the Fire. He has won both the Somerset Maugham and William Heinemann awards, and he lives with his family at Sissinghurst Castle in England.

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