Slide 24


Erin Shalev (2010):  “Written in the Style of Antiquity”:  Pseudo-Biblicism and the Early American Republic, 1770-1830. Church History 79:4 (December 2010), 800–826. doi:10.1017/S0009640710001034. Source. (Thanks to Dale Broadhurst.)

“The year 1744 witnessed the publication of the “most successful of English works” in America and represents a turning point in the history of American biblical-style writing. Chronicle of the Kings of England, Written in the Manner of the Ancient Jewish Historians, which would eventually be published in America in at least seven editions during the following half century, represented a major step forward in the elaboration and sophistication of what was to become a vital tradition in American letters and consciousness. Said to be written by Nathan Ben Saddi “a priest of the Jews,” and attributed to Robert Dodsley, the 1744 edition of The Chronicle of the Kings dressed British history in the recognizable biblical style, from the reign of William the Conqueror until Queen Elizabeth.” The Chronicle opened in a known biblical format: “Now it came to pass in the Year One thousand sixty and six, in the Month of September, on the eighth Day of the Month, that William of Normandy, surnamed the Bastard, landed in England, and pitched his Tent in a Field near the Town of Hastings.” The language, style, and grammar were biblical, the tone ironic, and the text abundant with anachronisms. The traits of a genre were established….”