The exhibit not only highlights the dramatic history behind the making of the King James Bible, which celebrates its 400th anniversary since it was first printed this year, but also includes its influence on English and American literature, and its multifaceted impact on culture and society to the present day.
The exhibit reveals that less than a century before it was produced, the very idea of the Bible translated into English was considered dangerous and even criminal and that it took the meticulous work of some four dozen of England’s top scholars, who labored for years to complete the translation, to produce what is now named "the King James Bible" after its royal sponsor, James I.
Equally compelling is the story of the book's afterlife—its reception in the years, decades, and centuries that followed its first printing, and how it came to be so ubiquitous.
This breathtaking panel exhibition focuses on the human side of this major cultural landmark and explores the book's social, cultural, literary, and religious influence over four centuries, from Pilgrim’s Progress to Handel's Messiah, to the Apollo 8 astronauts as they read from Genesis—in the King James Bible translation—while they orbited the Moon.
This a traveling exhibition 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 and will be on display in Burke Library until October 28, 2011.