Translation and Theory - The Geneva Bible and Jauss' "Horizon of Expectations"


  • Michael Jensen


The Geneva Bible was the Bible that became the Bible of its generation, favoured by an impressive array of writers from Shakespeare and Spenser to Milton. Read on its own terms, however, it demanded devotion rather than mere exegesis. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the achievement of the Geneva Bible from the point of view of reading by examining what the translation asked of its original readers and how it changed their "horizon of expectations". This method, adapted from the reception-theory of Hans Robert Jauss, provides a means by which to assess the readers' responses to the Geneva Bible. Central to the Geneva Bible's achievement was the model of reading it prescribed -"simple reading": the readers of the Geneva Bible were called to become "simple readers".