Editing, but how much real change?

September 13, 1993|By Rob Hiaasen

"The Bible: Designed to Be Read as Living Literature" was designed, simply, to be read as a book.

Lodowick Allison, its latest editor, "owes a debt of gratitude" to Ernest Sutherland Bates, a former English professor who in 1936 undertook the job of converting the Bible to book form. An intimidating project -- now and then -- Mr. Allison says.

Repetitions (what Biblical scholars call doublets), jumbled chronologies and confusions based on ancient misunderstandings were dealt with by Mr. Bates and upheld by Mr. Allison.

The double-column format, chapter and verse headings and cross-references were removed from the King James Bible. Songs, poems and stories were separated from the text. Quotation marks and modernized spellings were added. And a new typeface was employed to make it easier on the eyes.

Consider the Book of Psalms from the King James:

PSALM 23.

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me

beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul...

From The Bible: Designed to Be Read as Living Literature:

"The Twenty-Third Psalm"

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;

he leadeth me beside the still waters;

he restoreth my soul...

Not a blessed word of the twenty-third psalm was changed. It just looks a little different.

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