An original draft of the King James Bible has been found in the vaults of Cambridge University. Regardless of religious belief, the King James Bible has to be recognised as a literary masterclass, writes Salon's Ed Simon:
"The brilliance of its language is that it is so simple and yet never simplistic, in keeping with Tyndale’s wish that one day the young boy ploughing the fields would be as knowledgeable as the Pope."
The influence of the King James Bible extends well beyond the sectarian divides it was supposed to quell when it was printed in 1611, in part by borrowing heavily from William Tyndale, who was the first person to translate the New Testament in English in 1525. Perhaps only Shakespeare has had more of an impact on the English language. According to Ed Simon, Tyndale's earlier bible gave us "such phrases as 'lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,' 'eat, drink and be merry,' 'my brother’s keeper,' 'it came to pass,' 'the salt of the earth,' 'the signs of the times'—and perhaps most sublimely, 'let there be light,' among many others."