Why the King James Bible is a Hit; A celebration of William Blake

Photo Credit: CP Images

Photo Credit: CP Images


Season 18: Episode 36

Renaissance scholar Gordon Campbell says the King James Bible remains popular because it was the first bible designed to be read out loud. Also on the show, actor R.H. Thomson pays tribute to William Blake and to his friend and mentor, the late Douglas Campbell, in a beautiful radio documentary about power of the human voice. 

For more on the show and our guests...


Think of a massive best seller. Harry Potter and the Dealthly Hallows, The DaVinci Code, The Lord of The Rings - all of them are dwarfed by the staying power of a book published more than four hundred years ago. There have been scores of translations of the bible, long before, and ever since. But the King James version is the block buster. Its language is at once simple and dignified, colloquial and majestic. Gordon Campbell is our guest for the first half of the program. His book is Bible: The Story of the King James Version, 1611- 2011.

Later in this episode: Several months before the death of Douglas Campbell, actor R.H. Thomson recorded Campbell reciting the poetry of William Blake. For Thomson it was a way to express his love for Blake and for Campbell. He plays a selection of those recordings, to show why Campbell's voice was unique, and why poetry must be spoken aloud to achieve its true power. This is a stunning radio documentary prepared for Tapestry by Frank Faulk.

You can see a video of R.H. Thomson interviewing Douglas Campbell here

From the CBC's archives, here is Peter Gzowski's interview with the "feisty" Douglas Campbell. 

The CBC's Frank Faulk has produced another documentary touching on the work of William Blake. You can listen to his series called Imagination here.
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