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The Making of the King James Bible
‘I'm delighted that this app will take further the message so engrossingly embodied in the Bodleian's exhibition of treasures from Oxford and beyond. Here you can view some of the first biblical words to appear in the ancestor of the English language, recall the singing of King James' text in Handel's Messiah while viewing the composer's own manuscript, and make the acquaintance of the many scholars who combined to create this supreme crystallisation of the English language’
-Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford
'The Making of the King James Bible' is the first in a series of mobile apps from the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford.
In 2011, the King James Bible is 400 years old and still the most printed book in existence. The Bodleian Libraries in Oxford are marking this anniversary with an exhibition entitled 'Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible' (from 22 April to 4 September). It brings together, for the first time, many of the books and documents that lay behind the King James Bible translation.
The Manifold Greatness exhibition is a collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, USA. From 23 September 2011 until 14 January 2012, the exhibition will reside at the Folger Shakespeare Library. From 28 February until 3 June 2012, the exhibition will then move to the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas, Austin. Throughout 2012 and 2013, the exhibition will travel across the USA in partnership with the American Library Association.
Featuring over 60 items from the exhibition, this app traces the history of the King James Bible, particularly the role of Oxford, and the influence of the translation in England up to 1769. It was in this year that the King James Bible was first revised - resulting in the 'Oxford Standard' version, on which the modern text of the King James Bible is based.
- concise commentary from the curators of the exhibition, written exclusively for the app
- narration from Oxford's Diarmaid MacCulloch - prize winning author and one of the world's leading authorities on the history of Christianity.
- celebrations from the University of Oxford, including a King James Bible masterclass, guest lectures, and Evensong performed by the choir at Corpus Christi College
Explore a variety of items including:
- old English manuscripts, such as Aelfric's version of the Heptateuch, the MacRegol Gospels, and one of the earliest surviving Wycliffite Bibles (the first full translation of the Bible into English).
- Anne Boleyn’s velvet-bound 1534 copy of William Tyndale’s New Testament (on loan from the British Library).
- the only surviving copy of the forty 1602 Bishops’ Bibles, the base text used by the translators, which is marked with suggestions, deletions and alterations.
- a glimpse into the process of translation, with the original rules of translation (also from the British Library) and John Bois' notes from the general meeting (on public display for the first time).
- a unique half-way house translation of the New Testament epistles (1604-1608). This manuscript link between earlier versions of the Bible in English and the evolving King James Bible is a window into the translators’ working methods.
- engravings and selected gospels from the original 1611 King James Bible.
- a rare copy of the 'Wicked Bible' of 1631, which included the misprinted commandment ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’. Most copies were burned at the time.
- Handel's conducting copy of the Messiah (1741-1742). Words from the King James Bible were used in the libretto of this famous oratorio.
Please note that this app is best experienced over a WiFi connection.