The King James Bible, 1611 – 2011
For immediate use
15th March 2011
In 2011 the nation is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the most important and influential printed book in the English language – the King James Bible (KJB). Otherwise known as the ‘Authorized Version’, it was published in 1611 and has since been the world’s best-seller. Winchester Cathedral will be joining these celebrations with a specially designed exhibition to inform and excite. It will run from April 29th – October 3rd 2011 in the north presbytery aisle, and be available to view during Cathedral opening hours.
As always it is advisable to check before making a special visit as services and events can affect access and there are charges to enter the Cathedral as a tourist. Please see our website at www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk or telephone 01962 857 200 for details.
This lively exhibition will demonstrate how people – particularly those associated with Winchester – have used the English Bible during the lifetime of the Cathedral, and how the KJB became the English Bible! It will show how the Bible has been interpreted, and read aloud and read in private – taking visitors on a journey through the centuries from the medieval world of manuscript through to the digital era.
Visitors will be able to compare different versions of the text. They can also take part in family activities such as exhibition quizzes and can try their hand at calligraphy.
Two digital workstations make it possible to explore background material and to hear several versions of verses of the same extract of the Bible (Proverbs 8) in Hebrew, Latin and three English versions. .
Reading the Book of Books will be accompanied by a series of public lectures on The Bible in Culture, presented by five leading scholars; details are available on the Cathedral website and on leaflets which are on general distribution. (They are listed below for the media.)
Exhibition Curator, Professor Michael Wheeler, sees this as a great opportunity to encourage visitors to the Cathedral to reflect upon a thousand years of Bible history. “We want to take you on a journey from Latin Christianity and the 12th century manuscript Winchester Bible to the present digital age”, he says. “Here we focus on the Jacobean translators of the 1611 version and the impact of their work on the culture of later centuries.”
Five of those translators were associated with Winchester Cathedral, and the exhibition draws out other Hampshire connections too, such as Florence Nightingale’s reading of the KJB.
“The King James Bible has had a massive impact on our culture and has never been a private book for the Church only”, says the Dean of Winchester, The Very Revd James Atwell. “I am delighted that the Cathedral will be celebrating that with an imaginative and stunning exhibition which should delight all comers. Definitely something not to be missed!”
Details of this and all events at Winchester Cathedral are available on 01962 857 200 or online at www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Lecture Series – The Bible in Culture
All lectures begin at 7.30pm in Prior’s Hall, The Deanery. Tickets, £6 per lecture or £20 for the series, are available from the Box Office (01962 857275, or online at ww.winchester-cathedral.org.uk)
Thursday 12th May - The Bible and Art
Professor Michael Wheeler, curator of the exhibition and a visiting Professor at the universities of Lancaster and Southampton, is a widely published authority on nineteenth-century religion, literature and art. He offers a lavishly illustrated lecture on the impact of the King James Bible upon British artists and illustrators. Following a review of the exhibition’s visual aspects, the lecture ranges from Rayner’s Family Bible of the 1730s to Eric Gill, via the Pre-Raphaelites.
Thursday 19th May - The Bible and Language
Professor Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester, and author of a recent book called Bible: the Story of the King James Bible, 1611-2011. His talk begins with a discussion of the extent to which the language of the King James Bible reflects the language spoken and written in 1611, and then turns to the way its language was regarded in later centuries (sometimes with execration and sometimes with adulation) before concluding with a consideration of the presence of the KJB’s language in today’s English.
Thursday 26th May - The Bible and Music
Professor John Harper is RSCM Research Professor of Music and Liturgy and Director of the International Centre for Sacred Music Studies at Bangor University. Reviewing musical works that set texts from the King James Bible across four centuries, special attention is given to Handel and S. S. Wesley. The lecture also takes into account the distinctiveness of the prosody of the King James Bible in relation to other versions of Scripture set by composers – especially the Book of Common Prayer.
Tuesday 14th June - The Winchester Bible, the greatest Bible ever made in England
Dr Christopher de Hamel is Fellow and Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and is author of very many books on illuminated manuscripts and the history of Bibles. His talk looks at the background to the making of the great Winchester Bible in the twelfth century, comparing it with other monumental English Bibles of the time, and shows why and how it was made, and how the tradition of making Bibles survived the Middle Ages.
Tuesday 21st June - The Bible and Literature
Professor David Norton, Professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, has written A History of the Bible as Literature and The King James Bible: a Short History from Tyndale to Today, and is editor of The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible and the Penguin Classics Bible. He talks about some of the ways in which the Bible is present in ‘literature’, from the Fall in Milton’s Paradise Lost to Homer and Marg Simpson as Adam and Eve in ‘Simpsons’ Bible Stories’.
Media & Communications - Winchester Cathedral
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