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King James Bible - 400 Years - 1611-2011
Join SBL in celebrating this 400th anniversary.

Celebrate with Colleagues
SBL and the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society are sponsoring three symposia.
The overall theme for the series of symposia is:
The KJV at 400: Assessing its Genius as Bible Translation and its Literary Influence
  • 2010 SBL Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA (Nov 20-23, 2010),
  • 2011 SBL International Meeting in London, UK (Jul 4-8, 2011)
  • 2011 SBL Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA (Nov 19-22, 2011)
David Burke, Dean Emeritus of the Nida Institute, has been invaluable in the organization of the symposia, having coordinated a stellar list of participants and provided measured insight along the way. This theme is addressed in an introductory paper presented at each symposium by David Norton, the distinguished author of A Textual History of the King James Bible (Cambridge: 2005) and The King James Bible: a Short History from Tyndale to Today (Cambridge: forthcoming). 

A variety of sub-themes and related subjects are also treated in a total of thirty-nine other papers.
In Atlanta the focus was largely on the first part of the theme, Bible Translation, while in San Francisco the focus will be largely on the literary influence aspect of the theme. The International Meeting in London, will serve as the centerpiece of the three symposia where both aspects of the overall theme will be in focus. 

SBL and Nida are also working cooperatively with the KJV Trust to plan for additional events during the London meeting. For example, the opening welcome to all SBL IM participants will be given by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and musical events are also planned.
Presenters include:
  • former SBL Presidents Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, David Clines, and Vincent Wimbush
  • widely recognized New Testament authorities N. T. Wright, James D. G. Dunn, and Scot McKnight
  • renowned postcolonial scholar R S Sugirtharajah
  • Hebrew scholar and literary critic Robert Alter
  • King’s College London Dean Richard Burridge
  • Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union Naomi Seidman
  • Oxford Old Testament fellow Deborah Rooke
  • Renaissance literature doyenne Barbara Lewalski
  • Princeton Theological Seminary President Iain Torrance
  • leading Lancelot Andrewes expert Malcolm Guite
Publications from these symposia are anticipated.
As we celebrate the accomplishment of the King James Bible in translation and influence, in scholarship and culture, mark these dates and make plans to attend the symposia.

Celebrate in Print 
With the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society, SBL published a full-length volume in 2009 that examined the historical context in which the KJV translation was born. Edited by David G. Burke, Translation That Openeth the Window: Reflections on the History and Legacy of the King James Bible celebrates the work of the translators and the fruit of their labors.  The authors of this volume, representing a wide range of disciplines and perspectives, expound upon the cultural and religious monument that is the King James Bible.
In 2003 SBL’s Forum—a venue for brief, accessible articles by noted scholars for the non-scholarly community—published several articles on the King James Bible.
David Bartlett, Lantz Professor of Preaching at Yale University Divinity School, reflected on the role of the KJV in his upbringing and the cultural impact of the KJV’s language in “ The King (James) and I.” 

Steven Sheeley, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Religion at Shorter College in Rome, GA, writes of how the language of the KJV infused Protestant churches as well as public discourse and has continued to influence American culture in “The KJV and American Culture: 'A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory'.” 

Leonard Greenspoon, who holds the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization at Creighton University, recounts the beginnings of a shift in the late 1700s from dependence on the KJV by Jews to the attempt to produce a unique Jewish version for English speakers while still relying on the KJV in “The KJV and the Jews.”
The King James Bible Celebratory Virtual Issue
In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Bible, Wiley-Blackwell is pleased to present a selection of scholarly articles on the King James Bible and related themes. Read journal articles and a selection of book chapters for free until the end of 2011.

Celebrate with Others 
King James Bible Trust
The Society is actively involved with the Trust, which was established to celebrate the KJV’s impact in history and on language particularly in Britain but also throughout the English speaking world.  SBL’s Executive Director Emeritus Kent Harold Richards serves as a member of the KJV Trust and is involved in the coordination and organization of events throughout the UK from Plymouth to Aberdeen. Events include lectures, public seminars, concerts and theatrical performances, ecumenical celebrations, and art exhibitions. Information on the Trust and these events is available at These events represent an opportunity for the international community to think about the role of the Bible and translation (both for good and for ill), not to mention the impact of the KJV in art, music, law, literature, etc.

Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA)
July 8 through October 16, 2011, MOBIA is organizing On Eagles’ Wings: The King James Bible Turns Four Hundred.  The exhibition will explore the historic context in which the King James Bible was translated and published beginning with an examination of its predecessors, most notably the Bishop’s Bible sponsored by Queen Elizabeth in 1568 and singled out as the model to which the translators commissioned by King James were to follow as closely as possible.  Through printed Bibles, manuscripts, letters, portraits, and visual meditations on the meaning of the biblical text, the exhibition will present the touchstones of the translation process while making palpable through print runs from the 17th through the 21st centuries just how relevant this work was and continues to be for various audiences over generations.
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY
The SBL and Nida have developed the central program with Union Theological Seminary New York at its Union Days 2011, a program focused on the impact of the King James Bible. The event, October 13 – 16, 2011, will bring to UTS students, graduates, pastors, faculty, and the wider NYC community an opportunity to discuss the impact of the King James Bible (KJV) on religion, culture, literature, politics, and art.  The 400th anniversary of the KJV is celebrated in cooperation with a variety of local, national, and international entities.  UTS is an independent, nondenominational graduate school of theology located in New York City currently affiliated with Columbia University and a center of biblical scholarship during much of its history. Its Burke Library will host a special exhibition of KJV historical materials September through December of 2011. Not only is the library the largest theological library in the western hemisphere, but also, with holdings of over 700,000 items, it is recognized as one of the premier libraries in its field.
University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
The Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield is coordinating two major events: a conference and an exhibition.
The Biblical Literacy and the Curriculum Conference will feature workshops, debates, and lectures for educators from all fields who want to explore the place of biblical literacy in today’s curricula.  Sessions will address issues such as the documented decline in biblical awareness, which confront those who teach in secondary and higher education. Confirmed participants include Frank Field, Chair of the 2011 Trust; Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester; and Yvonne Sherwood, Professor of Old Testament-Tanakh, University of Glasgow. A call for papers has been issued, inviting others with expertise to contribute to a rich and diverse program.
“Telling Tales of King James' Bible: 1611-2011” is an exhibition and educational resource package, developed by the department of Biblical Studies in association with Sheffield Cathedral. The package includes exhibition materials designed for the general public and an array of flexible materials suitable for use with schools and other visitors.  It aims to enable churches and cathedrals within England but also around the world to celebrate 400 years of the King James Bible.  Consultants from Museums Sheffield have helped to ensure quality and relevance. The exhibition will be on display at cathedrals, churches, and abbeys around the UK.

Kennesaw State University
The Department of Museums, Archives & Rare Books is honored to announce it is one of 40 sites chosen to host the traveling exhibition: Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible.

The traveling 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 NEH traveling exhibit will also be housed in the Athenaeum Gallery and run through October 28, 2011.


Calendar of Events
Jul 4 – 8, 2011 Second SBL/Nida Symposium: The KJV at 400: Assessing its Genius as Bible Translation and its Literary Influence SBL International Meeting, King’s College London, London, UK

Jul 8 – Sep 18, 2011 MOBIA exhibition On Eagles’ Wings: The King James Bible Turns Four Hundred Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st Street, New York, NY 10023-7505

Sep – Dec, 2011 Burke Library special exhibition The Burke Library, Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway at 121st Street, New York, NY 10027

Oct 13 – 16, 2011 Union Days 2011 Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway at 121st Street, New York, NY 10027

Nov 10- 11, 2011 1611 Symposium Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee
The Pearce Shakespeare Endowment will host a symposium on the historical background and cultural legacy of this translation on November 10-11, 2011. Invited speakers include Robert Alter, Brian Cummings, Hannibal Hamlin, Ena Heller, Naomi Tadmor and Vincent Wimbush.

Nov 19 – 22, 2011 Third SBL/Nida Symposium: The KJV at 400: Assessing its Genius as Bible Translation and its Literary Influence SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA



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