In the BeginningBy: Alister E. McGrath
In the Beginning is Alister McGrath's history of the King James Bible, and as the subtitle explains, his explanation of "How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture." McGrath's story begins with the development of the printing press, describes the forces (before, during, and after the Reformation) fueling the demand for English vernacular translations of the Bible, and considers the impact of the King James Version on Western worship and politics. McGrath deftly blends an arch and charming, donnish argot with breezy, tough, brass-tacks directness. Of the ongoing process of creating new biblical translations, he writes, "It has yet to end; indeed, it will not end, until either history is brought to a close or English ceases to be a living language." Elsewhere, describing the cultural influence of the Authorized Version, he explains, "Without the King James Bible, there would have been no Paradise Lost, no Pilgrim's Progress, no Handel's Messiah, no Negro spirituals, and no Gettysburg address."