Monday, 14 June 2010

King James Bible Quatercentenary

2011 is the 400th anniversary of publication of the King James Bible (1611). These anniversaries always generate a spurt of publications and conferences. One thinks of the recent celebrations of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 2007, Milton in 2008 and Darwin in 2009. The KJV will not attract the same level of government funding as Abolition, and it may not equal the media exposure of Darwin, though it should eclipse Milton.

There will be one big academic history conference in the UK at the University of York entitled: 'The Bible in the Seventeenth Century: The King James Bible Quatercentenary (1611-2011)'. This boasts a strong line up of seventeenth-century literary scholars and historians:

The 2011 Trust (Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales; Chairman: Frank Field) has been set up to promote the Quatercentenary Year. Their website is worth browsing. It has an interactive map giving a full listing of events. They've even managed to get the endorsement of Richard Dawkins, who graces the website with a reading of the Song of Songs!

Books on the KJV and its impact are forthcoming from various quarters. They include a study by the literary scholar Gordon Campbell entitled The Story of the King James Bible, 1611-2011 (OUP), and a popular history of the Bible and English political thought by Nick Spencer from the think tank Theos.

CHF is planning its own day conference at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity on Sat 12th November 2011. This will come at the end of the anniversary year, but will provide an opportunity to reflect on how the occasion has been remembered, as well as on how the King James Bible has been read since 1611. More information to follow on this blog in due course.

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