Generations of Protestant Christians have heard God speaking through the language of the King James Bible. Four hundred years after it was first published, in 1611, it still has an unrivalled reputation as a shaper of English prose, its phrases a lasting contribution to how we use the language….Yet the 50 or so learned men who labored in teams to create the King James Bible did not set out to create a literary masterpiece. They wanted to establish as direct a connection as they could to the original languages of the Old and New Testaments. And it's not a miracle that this monumental exercise in translation-by-committee turned out as well as it did. By the time they set to work, in 1604, the King James translators had a hundred years of pioneering work on which to draw. They leaned heavily on texts and translations put together by theologians and linguists such as Erasmus and William Tyndale.