Friday, 22 November 2013

The Good Book a bookseller’s apology

I am not sure how other bookshops do in these benighted times, they may indeed have been taken over by darkness, but here in my secondhand bookshop the bible is still the best-selling book and the only case where one title takes up a whole shelf.

Perhaps here in Ramsgate we have had a period intense religious activity, whatever it was a customer just asked me for a King James Bible and when I got to the religious section there weren’t any there and the bible shelf was pretty much empty.

Anyway I went of the store and found a pile of bibles to fill the shelf up, they date from between 1867 and about 1990 including a few sound full leather bindings in nice condition and some in pretty atrocious condition, now all priced between 99p and a tenner and put out on the shelf.  

I guess one problem with the bible is that there are so many different English translations, with most people in the UK being very much influenced by The King James version published first in the early 1600s.

Here is the beginning of John’s gospel translated by William Tyndale about a hundred years before that.

“In the beginning was that word, and that word was with God: and God was that word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it, and without it, was made no thing, that made was. In it was life, And life was the light of men, And the light shineth in the darkness, and darkness comprehended it not.

    There was a man sent from God, whose name was Ihon. The same came as a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light: but to bear witness of the light. That was a true light, which lighteneth all men that come into the world. He was in the world, and the world by him was made: and the world knew him not.

    He came among his own, and his received him not. Unto as many as received him, gave he power to be the sons of God: in that they believed on his name: which were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor yet of the will of man: but of God.

    And that word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw the glory of it, as the glory of the only begotten son of the father, which word was full of grace, and verity.”

As you can see one translation influences another, a complex business, so that selling the right bible to the right person may involve advanced bookselling skills.

Over years I have had some unanswerable questions from customers on this one, like. Which one’s the holy one and have you the original one?

I am not a great reader of the bible, although I sometimes quote it, for time I was a member of an Anglican religious contemplative order and I guess that was sufficient god bothering for me. However like Shakespeare you need a copy of the bible on your shelf as a key reference work.

I guess there is a Kindle download, raising the interesting questions: Could you swear on it? Could you use it for an exorcism? Tricky area really.

I once asked an elderly colleague of mine why he performed exorcisms in latin, his answer being that he was certain that it was a language that the devil understood.   

May ramble on here 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.