Harold Bloom, “The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible”

Bloom is a traditionalist when it comes to criticism, but he is not a believer.  He takes issue with C.S. Lewis a few times; Lewis apparently objected to the whole enterprise of reading Scripture as literature.  I read only the introduction and the New Testament part (not the Old Testament or Apocrypha, which are by far most of the book).

Bloom says the New Testament’s Greek is not well-written, though the King James translation is (versus the Old Testament, where, he says, the Hebrew and King James’s English are both excellent).  Hebrews is the best, he says, and James is good, too.  Bloom says it’s no surprise that he is most “at rest” with James, since he doesn’t like the New Testament’s rejection of the law — and he finds Paul to be an unattractive figure and James to be a refutation of him.

Of course, the fact  that the Greek in the New Testament is workmanlike and done by those who were not native Greek-speakers suggests their motives were urgent and nonliterary — a desire to spread the truth, not to tell an elegant fiction (246).