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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

The English Bible: An exhibition for the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, 1611

Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Gallery, Hollings Library
May 9, 2011 - Aug 31, 2011

The King James Bible was published just four hundred years ago, in May 1611.   The 1611 translation, or “Authorized Version,” was born from a century of deep religious and political conflict.  It drew on a century of earlier translation and Renaissance textual scholarship to create “one uniform translation” for public use.  In the following centuries, it would become the best-known and most widely reprinted of all Bible translations into English. 

The exhibition tells the story of the Bible in English from pioneers like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, through the sixteenth-century religious exiles who created competing Puritan and Catholic versions, to the King James Bible itself.  The exhibition also charts the impact of the King James Bible in America and explores its subsequent influence in literature, politics and culture.  The exhibition is arranged in four segments:

                         · * Before the King James Bible—Pioneer Translators (cases 1-5)

· * The Making of the King James Bible (cases 6-9)

· * The Dominance of the King James Bible (cases 10-12)

· * The Influence of the King James Bible (cases 13-15)

Among the highlights on display are a 1611 folio edition of the King James Bible, a folio Geneva Bible presented to South Carolina College by John Drayton, and copies of John Eliot’s Indian Bible (1685) and of the Aitken Bible (1781), the first Bible in English printed in America.

Displayed around the gallery are original leaves from historic American Bibles, recently donated to the library by Dr. Alex Pappas, ’71.

The Ernest F. Hollings Library is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.