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Look Inside The Social Universe of the English Bible

The Social Universe of the English Bible
Scripture, Society, and Culture in Early Modern England

  • Date Published: October 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521769716


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About the Authors
  • How can we explain the immense popularity of the English Bible? In this book, Naomi Tadmor argues that the vernacular Bible became so influential in early modern English society and culture not only because it was deeply revered, widely propagated, and resonant, but also because it was - at least in some ways - Anglicised. She focuses in particular on the rendering into English of biblical terms of social description and demonstrates the emergence of a social universe through the processes of translation from ancient and medieval texts to successive and interrelated English versions. She investigates the dissemination of these terms in early modern society and culture, focusing on community ties, gender and labour relations, and offices of state. The result is an important contribution to the history of the English Bible, biblical translations, and to early modern English history more generally.

    • An important contribution to our understanding of the shaping of the English Bible and its impact on early modern English society and culture
    • Focuses on how the translated terms affected contemporary society and culture
    • Provides an accessible interdisciplinary approach
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… as Naomi Tadmor brilliantly shows in The Social Universe of the English Bible, [the translators] domesticated the Old Testament, turning the alien landscape of the Hebrew into the reassuringly familiar landscape of early modern England … its implications are profound … it is Tadmor who makes the strongest case for the long-term effect [of the King James Bible] on our language and cultural assumptions.' Arnold Hunt, The Times Literary Supplement

    '… a probing and deeply learned book by a historian whose Jewish background enables her to compare English translations of the Bible with the Hebrew original.' R. C. Richardson, The Times Higher Education Supplement

    '… highly original … Tadmor's book provides essential reading on the changes in translation, and throws down a gauntlet on the reasons for and impact of those changes.' Ian Green, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    '… short but superbly enlightening … a rare combination of linguistic expertise and acute historical sensitivity has allowed Tadmor to point us towards some genuinely fresh and important perspectives on the key authoritative text, and the central cultural values, of pre-modern (and to an extent, modern) Britain.' Peter Marshall, History

    'Brilliant … Tadmor's book is full [of] insights, revealing what the English Bible and its world gained in translation.' Paul Lay, History Today

    'What a fascinating and informative study this is, and one that will be useful for historians as well as theologians.' Contemporary Review

    'Connecting the theory and history of translation to early modern social history makes for multidisciplinary work of the best kind.' Lorri Anne Ferrell, Huntington Library Quarterly

    'A brilliantly erudite study, The Social Universe [of the English Bible] … makes for an unusually compelling reading experience … I know of no book that better communicates how hard it is to English the Bible - and how well early modern translators did.' Deborah Shuger, Church History

    'This is a fine and fruitful investigation; one ripe for development in keeping with all good studies. It provides a persuasively detailed account of how a text in transmission and transition translated its own values on to and away from ancient sources in order to foment a fresh 'social universe'.' Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception

    'Tadmor's book is a rarity among books on the English Bible (especially those appearing in 2011) for its original research into the texts, the critical sense it gives of important aspects of the translators' work, and the precision with which translation is tied to social history. Jerusalem may not have become Atlanta, but aspects of Hebrew society were Anglicised in ways that we do not usually notice.' English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521769716
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Friends and neighbours in early modern England: biblical translations and social norms
    2. Women and wives: the language of marriage in early modern English biblical translations
    3. Slaves and servants: a Bible for freeborn Englishmen
    4. Prince, captain, lord, duke, and eunuch: the making of the English biblical polity
    Select bibliography.

  • Author

    Naomi Tadmor, Lancaster University
    Naomi Tadmor is a Professor in the Department of History at Lancaster University.

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