Friday, September 17, 2010

Celebrating the King James Bible

As many of our readers know the King James Bible will be 400 years old in 2011 (105 days left).

A "2011 Trust" has been established to celebrate the anniversary of the translation which has had so great impact in history and on language throughout the English speaking world (mission statement).

The Trust, in association with other institutions like the Society of Biblical Literature, the Nida institute, etc, is developing projects like commissioning new music and literature; study days in some cities following James’s route from Scotland to London; lectures at Oxford and Cambridge, where the translators worked; developing educational school projects; publishing new texts; discussions about similar values in the texts of the world’s major religions; major exhibitions in London and around the country where the translations were made; and street culture projects.

Among the many events, the SBL will host a special conference:
The Society of Biblical Literature in partnership with a number of groups including the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society will hold an international congress in London 4 - 8 July 2011. The scholarly and public sessions will be hosted by King's College London. Details about registration, housing, and program to follow and will be able to be found on this site or at

Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies at University of Leicester, shares his thoughts about the anniversary on the OUP blog. Oxford University Press will publish his Bible: The Story of the King James Version, 1611-2011 and his 400th anniversary edition of the Bible during 2011.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica), who links to Campbell's post, rightly thinks his rhetorical question is unfair, "Where could one now find fifty translators with competence in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Samaritan, Ethiopic and Arabic (the languages of the English polyglot Bible of the period) and a command of patristic, rabbinical and Reformation commentaries?"

Not least, we have a slightly better knowledge of which manuscript base to use.


  1. I can't quite get myself excited about the 400th anniversary of the KJV. Does anyone know the date of the first printing? I would probably be able to enthuse for a day.

  2. Samaritan isn't a language, it's an alphabet. And Peter, you can start planning now to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cambridge University Press wading into the fracas of Bible Publishing in 1629 to bring order out of chaos. Although they way they moved alternate readings out of the margin and into the text, one might have rather called what they produced the Today's Authorised Version.
    You have at least 18 years to figure out the exact date. In the meanwhile, come on--join us all in slapping a little more whiting on the prophets' tombs.