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

Christabel Burniston
The Authorised Version-like all good writing of earlier centuries- was meant to be spoken and remembered. Because of the balance of the cadences the meaning and music travelled easily into the ear and were reluctant to leave themind. One generation passed these memorable phrases on to the next 'by word of mouth' and consequently they were known 'by heart'-I use the word advisedly-not 'by rote':

Many years ago I had the pleasure of helping a young Rabbi with his delivery. He and I compared the parallelism of the Hebrew text and the Authorised Version. It was an aesthetic delight to hear the close musical correspondence between the two. (Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge' et al.)

Sometimes in the Bible reading classes of the Festivals, I compare the different versions presented and try out the audiences' response and their ability to remember. It is the A. V. which flows from me to them and back from them to me orally.

Far from simplifying the meaning, the New English Bible, for example, ruins the sense-rhythm and stultifies the verbal dynamism. Instead of satisfying the common man in true communion it becomes merely commonplace.
Director of the English Speaking Board

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