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With the publication on March 14 of The New Testament section of the much heralded New English Bible (reviewed on p.210), this history of the English Bible from its earliest days is particularly pertinent. Prof. Bruce, of the University of Manchester, turns back to the earliest days, when the Gospel story was told to the English people, and when wall paintings and relief carvings were used to convey Bible stories. Caedmon composed his poems in Old English; Bede wrote his ecclesiastical history and translated parts of the New Testament; Alcun: established the minster-school in York during the revival of learning under Charles. The 10th century had seen efforts in Old English in the enlightened court of Alfred the Great; Ormulum translated the gospels and Acts into Early Middle English. But it was Wycliffe's inspiration in the 14th century that brought much of this to fruition with the ""Wycliffite version""- which followed a checkered career of acceptance and rejection. The invention of printing, the influence of Erasmus, of Tyndale (with the first printed Bible in English), of the forces of the Reformation, led eventually to Coverdale's first complete Bible printed in English, to the Matthew Bible and The Great Bible. The Book of Common Prayer, under Edward VI was as much Cramer's legacy as the English Bible is Tyndale's. And by successive steps the version known as The King James Version was achieved. Final chapters trace variations, successive revisions both Catholic and Anglican, and the 20th century versions on to the newest. It is an immensely interesting study, not only for Bible students but for the layman.

Publisher: Oxford