Challenges to the authority of the King James Version are a proper part of the critical scrutiny to which all texts should be submitted in an open society. What is remarkable is that such scrutiny does not subvert the affection that English speakers have for the KJV. The principal reason for this affection, even for readers who use other translations, is the aural quality of its prose. Modern translations are normally intended for private study, and so are usually read silently. The KJV was, as its title-page pronounces, ‘appointed to be read in churches’: it was a translation intended to be read aloud and understood, and so it was in countless churches, chapels and households. Its prose has a pulse that makes it easy to read aloud and easy to memorize. When Adam ungallantly blames Eve for the fall, he says (in the KJV) ‘she gave me of the fruit and I did eat’ (Genesis 3: 12); he uses ten simple monosyllabic words arranged in a line of iambic pentameter, which was the verse form used by Shakespeare. This is prose with the qualities of poetry, and it would be hard to think of any modern translation of which that can be said.