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This article is taken from PN Review 13, Volume 6 Number 5, May - June 1980.

The Word of God Now Ian Robinson
  
A FEW years ago I published an essay called 'Religious English' which 'had the good or the bad fortune to be much criticised at the time of its first appearance' and later. I do not in general want to retract what I said there, or to repeat it. Anyone interested can find the essay in my book The Survival of English (Cambridge, 1973). I hope now, though, to get clear one essential matter I there left rather in the haze. I have to begin in this not very impersonal way because what I hope now to clarify seems to me to be related to something wrong about the position I was then trying to occupy. When I mentioned once or twice that I was not a Christian, numbers of the aforesaid commentators complimented me as if this were the indispensable qualification for writing about the Bible. I had meant something more like 'This is far too important a matter to be left to the authorities of the Church of England', and had also thought of the texts in which Jesus said that those who are not against Him are for Him. I hope I never committed the absurdity of presenting the language of religion as a spectacle to be enjoyed; I hope I never suggested that a church service could be much the same as a visit to the theatre (imagine a critic trying to review Evensong without participating!). (1) If I did I am heartily sorry and gladly ...


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