Professor David Norton is a world authority on the King James Bible (1611) and its subsequent revisions. His first major publication in this area, his two-volume A History of the Bible as Literature (1993), was widely praised for its meticulous scholarship and comprehensive coverage. Describing the work as magisterial, reviewers were astonished by Professor Norton’s ability to synthesize such a range of reference and expertise, including literary criticism and history, biblical translation and history, editorial principles, hermeneutics, reception-aesthetics and linguistic analysis. The book won the prestigious Conference on Christian Literature’s Book of the Year Award in 1994 (previous winners included Northrop Frye and Umberto Eco) and quickly became a standard point of scholarly reference, leading to a one-volume version in 2000.
For some readers, however, even this work paled when compared with Professor Norton’s next project, when he was commissioned by Cambridge University Press (the oldest Bible publisher in the world) to audit the texts of its then current KJVs and compare them with key historical editions. What Professor Norton produced went much further. The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible (2005) was a thoroughly re-edited version of the KJV, incorporating original archival research, scholarship in ancient languages, the history of the English language, the history of seventeenth-century printing, the principles of textual bibliography, and the latest techniques in computer collation of multiple texts. The Press was delighted. It had not only a newly authoritative text of the King James Bible, but also a companion volume, A Textual History of the King James Bible (2005), that explained all editorial decisions, providing a full textual apparatus (in Hebrew and Greek as well as English) and offering the single most complete account to date of the making of the received text of the English Bible. Reviews have been glowing.
Professor Norton is currently working on a more popular history of the making of the English Bible that Cambridge plans to publish in 2011 as its principal contribution to the celebrations that year for the 400th anniversary of the KJV. The Press is confident that this volume will be one of the most important and influential publications to mark that anniversary.