Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The quoting of Scripture in fictional works

When an author pursues the writing of a work of historical fiction, they typically do research into the era so that their writing is credible. The existing business enterprises and how they function in the community, the mode of dress, method of transportation, speech habits, etc. are all researched and presented in the text in an “authentic” manner so as to add believablity to fiction.

Fantasy and science fiction are a different product entirely and therein the author may take liberal license.

However, it is within the pages of historical fiction – particularly Christian historical fiction – that my question is raised:

“Why does an author of Christian historical fiction quote Scripture from modern translations?”

When writing about the 1850s, an author is not going to interpose a 1950s automobile complete with “fantails,” shinny chrome bumpers and trim, and racing along at 95 miles per hour. No! The mode of transportation will fit the 1850s.

Why then quote from the “Common English Bible” in an 1850s or 1900s novel? It simply is not appropriate. Even if the author prefers the Common English Bible for their own person reading and study, their fictional work should use the Bible that was predominantly in use during the period about which they write.

Can I have an “Amen!” on that one readers?

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