Just how literal is the King James Version?

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Jan (JH) Kroeze ; Manie (CM) van den Heever ; Bertus (AJ) van Rooy (2010)
  • Publisher: Department of Ancient Studies, University of Stellenbosch

Many scholars have the perception that the King James Version (KJV) is a literal translation. However, it is not so easy to define the concept of "literal translation". The simplest definition may be to regard it as word-for-word translation. However, when one compares the KJV carefully with the original Hebrew Bible, there are numerous instances where lexical items are changed to adapt the idiom to that of the target language. In this article, a measuring instrument will be proposed and used to analyse some passages, with Ezek 15 as principal example. The same instrument may be used to evaluate other translations. Comparing the results may give a more precise indication of just how literal the KJV is.
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