Richard Dawkins likes the poetry of the King James Bible.
Not just literature in the high sense but everyday speech is laced, suffused - riddled, even - with biblical phrases the status of which ranges from telling quotation ("They have sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind") to cliché ("No peace for the wicked") and all points between. A word in season and perhaps we can see eye to eye. Although I wouldn't call the Bible my ewe lamb, and I would have to go the extra mile before I killed the fatted calf for it, you don't need the wisdom of Solomon to see how biblical imagery dominates our English. If my words fall on stony ground - if you pass me by as a voice crying in the wilderness - be sure your sin will find you out. Between us there is a great gulf fixed and you are a thorn in my flesh. We have come to the parting of the ways. I fear it is a sign of the times.It's all there for the reading.
Hebrew, alas, is a sealed book to me (yes, that's another one: Isaiah 29:11), but I have it on respected authority that Ecclesiastes, at least, is pretty damn good poetry in the original. If so, it certainly doesn't make it through the Good News mangling. But I shall argue that poetry can gain in translation, and I believe this may have been achieved with the King James Bible.
It is often said (though often forgotten) that the Bible is not a book but a library. Obviously unable to cover it all, I shall attend to my two favourite books, neighbours in the Old Testament: Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs.
Alright, Richard, but must it be the KJV? Don't any modern translations come close poetically? Readers, what sayeth thee?