Thursday, January 24, 2013

King James Bible exhibition visits Elizabethtown College.

Manifold Greatness, exhibit on King James Bible“Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible,” a traveling exhibition opening Feb. 2 at the High Library at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible in 1611 and examines its fascinating and complex history.

Elizabethtown College is one of 40 sites across 27 states displaying the exhibition and the sole location in Pennsylvania where the public can experience it. Visit for detailed information about the exhibition.

In addition to the exhibition, the High Library will showcase four displays of historical texts and bibles including the High Library c.1599 copy of the Geneva Bible from the Elizabethtown College special collections. Additional items will be shown from the special collections of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies including the 1712 Marburg Bible, a mystic and prophetic Bible, as well as the Behrleburg folio, which includes a Bible and related commentary from the 1730s.

The exhibit was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas. The traveling exhibition was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The story behind the King James Bible remains little known, despite the book's enormous fame. Translated over several years by six committees of England's top scholars, the King James Bible became the most influential English translation of the Bible and one of the most widely read books in the world. For many years, it was the predominant English-language Bible in the US. Many of those whose lives have been affected by the King James Bible may not realize that less than a century before it was produced, the very idea of the Bible translated into English was considered dangerous and even criminal.

Equally compelling is the story of the book's reception over the centuries, and how it came to be so ubiquitous. Essential to this story is the profound influence that the King James Bible has had on personal lives and local communities. For example, the Bible became a place for many families to record births, deaths, marriages, and other important events in their history. The King James Bible also has had a broad literary influence. Many authors have demonstrated the influence of its language and style on their work. The words of the King James are heard in a diversity of contexts, from Handel's “Messiah” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” to the words of the Apollo 8 astronauts as they orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve 1968.

"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said BethAnn Zambella, director of the High Library, which is sponsoring a number of free programs for the public to view the exhibition:
  • Feb. 2, 2 p.m., Opening Reception in the Winters Alcove at the High Library, featuring light refreshment, live music, and guest lecturer Jeffrey Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, speaking on "In the Beginning Was the Word."
  • Feb. 6, 4 p.m., “Shakespeare, Literature and the Language of the King James Bible,” a panel discussion held in the Winters Alcove, with Christina Bucher, professor of Religious Studies; Suzanne Webster Roberson, associate professor of English; and Louis Martin, professor of English.
  • Feb. 7, 4 p.m., “The Bible as Art” at the Brinser Lecture Room in Steinman Hall, a lecture by Patricia Ricci, associate professor of History of Art and director of the Fine Arts Division.
  • Feb. 20, 7 p.m., “The King James Version: Your Family Bible Memories” at the Elizabethtown Public Library. The public is invited to “bring your well-worn, dog-eared, marked-up, under-lined copy of the King James Version” and be prepared to share favorite passages.
  • Feb. 21, 4:30 p.m., Closing Reception in the Winters Alcove at the High Library, featuring college librarian BethAnn Zambella speaking on this unique exhibit and its impact for future generations. The Manifold Greatness exhibition will close at 5:30 p.m. Visit for more information.
-- Amy Mountain is director of Communications for Elizabethtown College.

Source: 1/24/2013 Newsline

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