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Treating the Bible like the Bard

17 April 2015

by Sarah Meyrick


At the Globe Theatre in London on Tuesday evening an appeal was launched to raise £1 million for the refurbishment of accommodation at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

Lord Bragg (above, second from right) was in conversation with Lord Blair, a former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (second from left), about their shared passion for Shakespeare's works and the King James Version of the Bible; and about the influence that William Tyndale's translation of the scriptures had on Shakespeare's language.

"We have lost a lot more than we ever thought by taking the King James Bible out of schools," Lord Bragg said. "'Tragedy' is a big word to use, but maybe it's not inappropriate. The King James Bible became a cathedral of the mind for English-speaking people around the world. It takes some time and commitment to understand it, but it's worth it. It just needs a bit of will."

Lord Bragg went on to say: "A hundred years ago, Shakespeare was dead. Now his works are performed all over the world." It needed a concerted effort to bring the Authorised Version back into widespread use, he told the audience. "There's an argument that people can't understand [the KJB], but if the same was applied to Shakespeare, we wouldn't have Hamlet saying 'To be, or not to be', but 'Oh, I'm stressed.'"

About 150 people attended the event at the Globe Theatre, mostly alumni and supporters of Cuddesdon. Photographed with Lord Bragg and Lord Blair were (right) the new Principal of Cuddesdon, the Rt Revd Humphrey Southern, and (left) Neil Constable, Chief Executive of the Globe. Lord Blair's wife and Lord Bragg's daughter both trained at the college.

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