Christopher Hitchens Declares His Love for the Bible: Such Love for King James not witnessed since the Duke of Buckingham’s Devotion

Christopher Hitchens: God is not great, but the King James Version is just super!

Christopher Hitchens: God is not great, but the King James Version is just super!

New Atheist Christopher Hitchens declares his heartfelt love for the King James Version – in this its 400th anniversary year – in a new article in the May 2011 edition of Vanity Fair.

Following a long line of critics from Herder to Leavis to Frye and Bloom who transform the earlier affirmation of the divine inspiration of the Bible into the championing of its poetic genius, Hitchens extols the heights of humanistic achievement which is represented by the 1611 translation of the Christian Bible into English. Hitchens offers an overview of the historical process that led to the publication of the King James Version, and waxes eloquent about the influence of its vocabulary and distinctive phrases on the English language. He also makes interesting comments on some of the political and religious motivations for certain translations (as an example of the latter, the use of “virgin” to translate ‘almah in Isaiah 7.14, so as to agree with New Testament prophecy in Luke, and despite the Hebrew term not specifically denoting a virgin). Hitchens contrasts the one, Authorised Version with the marketplace of “niche Bibles” available today, including “the ‘Couples Bible,’ ‘One Year New Testament for Busy Moms,’ ‘Extreme Teen Study Bible,’ ‘Policeman’s Bible,’ and…the ‘Celebrate Recovery Bible.'” He also makes a comment on the trend towards gender-neutral translations, including this sage comment:

to suggest that Saint Paul, of all people, was gender-neutral is to re-write the history…

Have a read.


Filed under Ancient Jewish texts, Books on Reception History

6 responses to “Christopher Hitchens Declares His Love for the Bible: Such Love for King James not witnessed since the Duke of Buckingham’s Devotion

  1. Sebastian

    Hitchens DID find waterboarding to be “all that bad”:


  2. Sir,

    In response to your essay of April 8, 2011 titled “Christopher Hitchens Declares His Love for the Bible: Such Love for King James not witnessed since Lord Buckingham’s Devotion”, may I recommend to you the following selection from Mr. Hitchens account of “water-boarding”, as published in Mr. Thackeray’s renowned journal of news and opinion, Vanity Fair. After experiencing the pleasures of this new and aforementioned asphixiatory science for some short length, Mr. Hitchens writes, ‘I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.’

    In any case, Mr. Hitchens is an English Patriot of the highest order. This is an ennobled title and calling that, alas, too few of our young men are willing to take upon themselves. I wish him all the best in his battle with the Mohommadan and the lesser malady of Cancer alike.

    As for your rather hasty remark about the Duke of Buckingham, may I remind the reader that the true love of our Earthly King James’ life was, of course, the Duke of Lennox who had the privilege of knowing the young King in his youth. Expiring when His Highness was but 16 was, as your readers will appreciate, was no grave matter as all learned men of Godly renown are aware that a youth will outlive his utility in such activities not long after.

    I remain yours,

    On behalf of The Peasants & Workers of the Patriotic Youth Wing of The New Phalange, More Commonly Known as The Berlusconi Youth.


  3. Tyrone Slothrop

    To our two correspondents, whose comments are printed above,

    Thank you for informing us of the unfortunate error which was included in the original posting of this weblog (“I suppose it’s hardly surprising that somebody who doesn’t find waterboarding to be all that bad considers reading the KJV to be a barrel of fun”). Remnant of Giants fully retracts this statement and apologizes fully for any sleight against Mr. Hitchens, whose brief yet surely terrifying experience of U.S. Psy-Ops normal operating procedures, and subsequent comments thereon, has surely demonstrated, according to the strictures of modern science, that waterboarding is a cruel and inhumane form of torture. We also take this opportunity to apologise to any erômenos or ephebe sleighted by our failure to give due credit to the Duke of Lennox.


  4. But Hitchens still remains a fundamentalist, regardless of his political views:

    Affirming penal substitution and KJVO. I tellya, he is the most influential Calvinist to date.


  5. Guys like Hitchens need to reduce religion to fundamentalism to make their jokes work. So non fundamentalist religion has to be explained away as fake religion.


  6. Pingback: Biblioblog Carnival for April 2011 – with Giants | Remnant of Giants

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