Hitchens on the Authorized Version

In the midst of a piece on Abraham Lincoln, Peter Hitchens brings up the Authorized Version of the Bible:

His language grows straight out of the Authorised Version of the Bible, and so speaks to my heart,  whether I want to agree with him or not.  Modern orators and writers, who have never wandered in its high passes, deep forests and shadowed valleys, are so inferior that it is often hard to take their banal, pedestrian lectures seriously at all. I have still not recovered from the mass admiration ludicrously bestowed on the pitiful orations of the Blair creature in his day.

But then of course their listeners have not read or heard the Authorised Version either, so they have no idea what they are missing. How would you explain a thunderstorm or a stormy sea to someone who had never seen or heard either? They are stunted descendants of a greater, taller people, scuttling about in the ruins of a civilisation and not understanding the meaning and purpose of the broken pillars, shattered towers and crumbling archways among which they scrabble for a living, dwarfed by its grandeur and so pretending it was backward and stupid. 

I try to read the KJV more nowadays. In my youth, it was the bedrock on which I learned the Scripture, along with the NKJV and the NASB. If you don’t read it and you are a writer, you are impoverished to some degree. Just like Shakespeare, who I am not familiar with but hope to be, the Authorized Version provides the lexicon of phrases that are the edifice our literature is built upon.

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