The Bodleian’s Manifold Greatness exhibition closed its doors on Sunday 4 September, with visitors still savouring their chance to encounter its exhibits right up to the last moment. The final attendance figure was 58,024 – a record for a Bodleian exhibition – and the whole team here is delighted at the response the exhibition has drawn. Many local people have enjoyed the chance to learn more about Oxford’s connections with Bible translation – from Wyclif, to Tyndale, the KJB translators, and beyond – and early in the exhibition’s run this connection was given a slot on the prime-time local TV news. The exhibition has also been covered in the Oxford Times and on BBC Radio Oxford. Visitors have been drawn from all over the globe, and comments have been left in the visitors’ book in many different languages. The meeting of different cultures and languages through the act of Bible translation was one of the themes of the exhibition, and so it is very apt that the exhibition itself should have become a place of so many local, national and international encounters with the story of the KJB.
Helen Moore is Fellow and Tutor in English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She chaired the Oxford ‘Manifold Greatness’ curatorial committee.
September 16, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, From the Curators, In the News, The KJB Today | Tags: Bodleian Library, John Wyclif, King James Bible, Manifold Greatness, Oxford, University of Oxford, William Tyndale | Leave A Comment »
The Bodleian Library’s first app, ‘The Making of the King James Bible’, is now available to download for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The narrative and content were conceived and written by the curators, with valuable input from colleagues at the Bodleian Library and others.
From the earliest days of planning, the Bodleian’s ‘Manifold Greatness’ exhibition has had a strong narrative focussing on the KJB’s links to Oxford and the material culture of the translators’ time, particularly in the form of the books connected with the translation that survive in Oxford libraries. This narrative transferred well to a digital environment, allowing us to create an app that would both enhance the experience of visitors to the Bodleian and provide a coherent and enjoyable digital encounter for those further afield.
For me as a writer, one of the most interesting aspects of this process (my first taste of app-writing), was the three-dimensional and interactive way in which a story, images, sound and information can be presented in an app. Architectural and skeletal metaphors kept occurring to me as I worked on it.
Like chapter headings in a book, the main menu supports the whole structure, and articulates the narrative of the app in miniature. But thereafter, the structure of the app becomes much less linear, as independent narratives branch out from the spine of the ‘Manifold Greatness’ story. The important role accorded to images and sound in an app, and the way they interact with text, has been another fascinating aspect to the project.
It certainly reminded me that the interaction of text and image has always been a key element in the physical process of Bible reading. The artist who illustrated the Old English biblical poems in MS Junius 11; the creator of the woodcuts used in the Geneva Bible; or the cartographer John Speed, whose maps of Canaan were included in the 1611 KJB, all have an important role to play in the history of biblical reception. (These images can be viewed in the app).
Helen Moore is Fellow in English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and chaired the Oxford ‘Manifold Greatness’ curatorial committee.
August 18, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, From the Curators, In the News | Tags: Android, app, Authorized King James Version, Bodleian Library, iPad, iPhone, Manifold Greatness, Oxford | Leave A Comment »
It’s hard to envision what the original King James Bible translators would have made of it, or exactly how one would even begin to explain it to one of them if a time machine were available, but the Bodleian Libraries have just released their first mobile app: “The Making of the King James Bible,” available for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based devices.
To quote the Bodleian’s own press release: “The app is being launched to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Bible’s publication and the Bodleian’s summer exhibition, Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible (until 4 September).” Like the exhibition, the app “brings together, for the first time, many of the books and documents that lay behind the King James Bible translation.”
Among numerous highlights, including images of many items from the exhibition, the app includes comments from the Oxford curators, readings from the King James Bible translation, and Evensong performed by the choir at Corpus Christi College.
August 11, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, The KJB Today | Tags: Authorized King James Version, Bible, Bodleian Libraries, Corpus Christi College, John Rainolds, Toura, University of Oxford | 1 Comment »
John Rainolds, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford from 1598 to 1607, was the leader of the Puritan delegation to the Hampton Court Conference in 1604. It was at this conference that Rainolds suggested to King James I that there should be a new translation of the Bible.
Rainolds was born on September 29, 1549, in Pinhoe in Devon. His father was a farmer, and his five brothers all studied at Oxford University. In 1572 Rainolds became reader in Greek at Corpus Christi, where he had studied as an undergraduate, and in 1588 he moved to the Queen’s College, where he lectured in theology. Amongst his surviving papers in Oxford are his lecture notes on Aristotle’s Rhetoric, and notes he made concerning the study and interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures.
Rainolds was a member of the First Oxford company that translated the Old Testament prophets for the King James Bible. This company met weekly in Rainolds’s lodgings in Corpus. Despite being afflicted by failing eyesight and gout, Rainolds continued the work of translation to the last, even being carried into the meeting room. He died on Thursday 21 May 1607, and was remembered as a leading figure of reformed theology, an accomplished Hebraist, and a man of remarkable learning. Rainolds is buried in the chapel of Corpus Christi.
Helen Moore is Fellow and Tutor in English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and chair of the curatorial committee for the ‘Manifold Greatness’ exhibition at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
This past Friday, Folger Librarian Steve Enniss and I had the pleasure of traveling to Oxford to attend a reception celebrating the opening of the Bodleian Library’s exhibition “Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible.” Guests gathered in Oxford’s majestic Divinity School for drinks, fellowship, and remarks from Bodley’s Librarian, Sarah Thomas, and comedian Ian Hislop, who was delightfully irreverent.
Prior to the reception, I made my way through the exhibition. I was awestruck by the assembled artifacts. I lingered over Anne Boleyn’s copy of the Tyndale New Testament and the Wicked Bible of 1631, with its infamous typo “Thou shalt commit adultery.” At one point I overheard someone whisper, “Have you seen the Big Three?” The “Big Three” to which she was referring are a copy of the 1602 Bishops’ Bible annotated by KJB translators, a manuscript containing working translations of the New Testament epistles, and surviving notes from translator John Bois. “The Big Three” is a fitting title. On exhibition together for the first time, these three artifacts are primary documents recording the process behind the creation of the King James Bible.
The next day as we discussed the exhibition at the Turf Tavern, Steve noticed an ad for Manifold Greatness hung at the bottom of the tavern’s crowded wall of posters. I thought snapping a picture was in order.
We return invigorated and excited to continue work on the Folger exhibition coming this fall.
Steven Galbraith, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Books, is co-curator of the Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
May 11, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, From the Curators, The KJB Today | Tags: Ann Boleyn, Authorized King James Version, Bishops' Bible, Bodleian Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, Ian Hislop, John Bois, King James Bible, Manifold Greatness, Oxford, Stephen Enniss, Turf Tavern, Wicked Bible, William Tyndale | 1 Comment »
Less than two weeks ago, he was being watched around the world during the royal wedding, but just recently Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been on a four-day visit to the Oxford diocese—ending yesterday at the Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Bodleian Library.
We’ve been following along on Twitter (@lambethpalace) and his website, www.archbishopofcanterbury.com, and looking forward to the exhibition visit! The Bodleian stop included a 33-minute question and answer with Oxford students that is already available online.
On his website, you can find an account of the entire four-day visit to the diocese, which includes plenty of audio clips. Scroll to the very end for info on the Manifold Greatness visit. Or, go right to an audio-only page with the full Q & A.
Questions include the consequences of having different translations, the difference between hearing and seeing biblical text, and more. The audio begins with about five minutes of remarks by the archbishop before the first question.
UPDATE: Learn more about the archbishop’s visit and the question and answer session from this Bodleian Library announcement, which includes photos.
May 10, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, In the News, The KJB Today | Tags: Archbishop of Canterbury, Authorized King James Version, Bodleian Library, Diocese, Folger Shakespeare Library, Lambeth Palace, Oxford, Rowan Williams | Leave A Comment »
‘Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible‘ opened, appropriately enough, on Good Friday, April 22, and welcomed nearly a thousand visitors across the Easter weekend. The week before the opening was in many ways revelatory, as the books were arranged in the cases, the loaned items arrived, and the panels were set in place. It was inspiring to see the exhibition taking shape before our eyes, as real books took the place of sketches, and the ‘conversation’ that we had envisaged between the different items in each case began to take shape. It was also humbling: this exhibition is the first time that some of these books have been reunited in one room since they were used by the King James translators.
It was remarkable to see the panel designs becoming a physical reality. The team has for the first time used banners as part of the room design for this exhibition: two huge banners hung at opposite ends of one wall feature the Old and New Testament title pages of the 1611 King James Bible.
Between them is a portrait of King James, which is itself framed by two banners carrying verses from 1611: one from the Old Testament, as translated by the First Oxford Company (Isaiah 49:13) and one from the New Testament, as translated by the Second Oxford Company (Revelation 19:6). For these banners I chose verses that not only resonate poetically, but that also address one of the key themes of the exhibition – the many voices of the King James Bible.
Written by committees, the KJB re-uses many words and phrases from earlier translations, and its own words were adapted in poetry and fiction by the later writers such as George Herbert, John Milton and Daniel Defoe who feature in our exhibition. So these two verses from Isaiah and Revelation capture for me not only the majestic, collective voice of heavenly rejoicing, but also this idea of the many voices involved in Bible translation and reception:
Sing, O heaven, and be joyfull, O earth, and breake forth into singing, O mountaines: for God hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13)
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mightie thundrings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)
Helen Moore chairs the curatorial committee of the Bodleian ‘Manifold Greatness’ exhibition. She is Fellow and Tutor in English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
May 5, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, From the Curators, The KJB in History | Tags: banners, Bodleian Library, First Oxford Company, King James Bible, King James I, Second Oxford Company | Leave A Comment »
As reported in our recent post, Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible opens today at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford!
Helen Moore, chair of the curatorial committee, says, “The exhibition reunites some of the books and manuscripts actually used by translators and we hope that it will give a unique insight into the aims and methods of the countless committee meetings that were held in Oxford and elsewhere as the translation took shape.
“It is an enormous privilege that we are able to breathe life back into the translation process for a modern audience, by showing these books and documents in public, some of them for the first time.”
Shown here is the page from the Gospel of Luke headed “Christ is crucified, and riseth againe.” from the unique Bodleian 1602 Bishops’ Bible, on public display for the first time in this exhibition. The handwriting shows the editing comments of the King James Bible translators.
For more information on the Bodleian Manifold Greatness exhibition and the extraordinary and fascinating rare materials on display, consult this announcement.
You can see more about the marked-up 1602 Bishops’ Bible and other rare documents of the translation process (many of which are also in the Bodleian exhibition) in the video Reconstructing the Process on the Manifold Greatness website.
April 22, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, The KJB in History, The KJB Today | Tags: Authorized King James Bible Version, Bishops' Bible, Bodleian Libraries, Bodleian Library, Helen Moore, King James Bible, Manifold Greatness, University of Oxford | Leave A Comment »
Named “Pick of the Day” on the Bookshop page of the London Times last Friday, Manifold Greatness: The Making of the King James Bible also got a nice review from the Times earlier in the week, on April 9, which described it as: “the beautifully presented and scrupulously edited Manifold Greatness… erudite but never dull,” memorably adding, “Go thou forth and buy it!’” (Update: Sorry, we couldn’t include the direct link here, given the Times site’s restricted paid access.)
Just out from Bodleian Library Publishing, Manifold Greatness is a richly illustrated, accessible account of the creation and afterlife of the King James Bible, told through chapters written by leading scholars who include the curators of the Bodleian and Folger Manifold Greatness exhibitions.
Chapters include the context for the translation, its impact in England, and its reception and cultural influence in America, from the 1600s to the present day. There’s also a chapter on rare KJB-related materials at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Images range from rare early English Bibles to the Algonquin Bible of 1663, Harper’s Illuminated Bible of 1846, and much more.
The book’s editors are Helen Moore and Julian Reid. Contributors include Moore and Reid, Valentine Cunningham, Steven Galbraith, Hannibal Hamlin, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Peter McCullough, Judith Maltby, Christopher Rowland, and Elizabeth Solopova.
April 19, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, At the Folger, In the News, The KJB Today | Tags: Algonquin, Authorized King James Version, Bodleian Library, book, Christopher Rowland, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Elizabeth Solopova, English Bibles, essays, Folger Shakespeare Library, Hannibal Hamlin, Harper, Helen Moore, Judith Maltby, Julian Reid, King James Bible, London Times, Peter McCullough, Steven Galbraith, University of Oxford, Valentine Cunningham | Leave A Comment »
We are delighted to announce the launch today of Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible, a major new website marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible of 1611.
More than a year in the making, the site includes stunning image galleries ranging from Early Bibles to Modern Life, interactive timelines, original video interviews, and still more special features that allow you to compare translations side by side, examine pages of a 1611 King James Bible in depth, and listen to excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, which takes much of its text from the KJB. (Special bonus: the recordings are from a Folger Consort / Oxford (Magdalen College) performance!) Resources for Scholars guide academic researchers to rare books and other source materials.
Children’s and family pages include a wealth of images, information, new craft videos, games and activities, and more—the screenshot we’ve highlighted here is from Making a Ruff. Trust us, we could go on… but why read about it when you can explore it for yourself? Consider this your personal invitation to jump into the new website today. We’re so happy to share it with you.
The website is part of Manifold Greatness, a multi-faceted project of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin. It has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
April 14, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, At the Folger, At the Harry Ransom Center, Kids & Families, The KJB in History, The KJB Today | Tags: Authorized King James Bible Version, Bibles, children's videos, crafts, Folger Shakespeare Library, George Frideric Handel, Handel's Messiah, King James Bible, KJV, Manifold Greatness, ruff, ruffs, translation | Leave A Comment »
Great excitement this morning with the official announcement of the Bodleian Libraries exhibition opening (April 22) of Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible. Hurray and huzzah!
Manifold Greatness is a collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries and the Folger Shakespeare Library with the assistance of the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. It will include the Bodleian Libraries exhibition announced here and a subsequent NEH-funded exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library in September and the Harry Ransom Center in early 2012, as well as a major companion website, a traveling exhibition throughout the United States produced by the Folger Shakespeare Library in partnership with the American Library Association, and more. Also look for Manifold Greatness: The Making of the King James Bible, from Bodleian Library Publishing.
From this morning’s announcement: “The Bodleian Libraries Summer 2011 Exhibition opens on Friday 22 April 2011. It celebrates the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible and sheds new light on its creation by examining the working process of the two translation committees based in Oxford at Merton and Corpus Christi Colleges.”
Included in the exhibition are the three key surviving working materials brought together for the first time: from Bodleian Libraries, the only surviving copy of the 1602 Bishops’ Bibles used by the translators; from Lambeth Palace Library, a unique document containing an interim translation of the New Testament epistles; and — on display for the first time ever — translator John Bois’s notes from the General Meeting of 1610 at which the work of the committees was reviewed and the translation finalized.
April 11, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, In the News | Tags: American Library Association, Authorized King James Version, Bodleian Library, exhibition, Folger Shakespeare Library, Harry Ransom Center, John Bois, Manifold Greatness, Oxford | 1 Comment »
We got our first look today at this great plum Bible binding (left), to be offered at the Bodleian Library Shop during the ”Manifold Greatness” exhibit there, which opens April 22. It’s directly inspired by a stunning 1633 KJV in the Folger collection, with an embroidered binding of a pelican. Said to draw blood from its own chest to feed its children, the pelican is a traditional symbol of Christ. The new binding comes in a granite color, too.
April 6, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, At the Folger, The KJB Today | Tags: Authorized King James Version, Bible, Bodleian Library, Book binding, Christ, embroidery, exhibition, King James Bible, Manifold Greatness, Pelican, University of Oxford | Leave A Comment »
If you visit the King James Bible Trust website, as we often do, you may notice that the words “manifest,” “great,” and “greatness” come up fairly often in its events list. At the University of Toronto, “Great and Manifold: A Celebration of the Bible in English,” is on display through June. At Cambridge, “Great and Manifold Blessings: The Making of the King James Bible” wraps up that month as well.
And then, of course, there’s our own Manifold Greatness project, a major, two-continent endeavor that includes a new book from Bodleian Library Publishing, a Bodleian Library exhibition opening at Oxford on April 22, and, funded by the NEH, an exhibition this fall at the Folger Shakespeare Library, an early 2012 exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, a major website that’s now launching within weeks, and a traveling exhibition produced in partnership with the American Library Association.
But why “manifold” and why “greatness”? The answer lies in the King James Bible’s dedication to King James I, not always printed in modern editions, which begins, “great and manifold were the blessings” when James became king. (“Manifold” here means both “varied” and “abundant.”) Today, the same words describe the King James Bible itself.
April 2, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, At the Folger, At the Harry Ransom Center, In the News, On Tour, The KJB Today | Tags: American Library Association, Authorized King James Version, Bodleian Library, exhibition, Folger Shakespeare Library, Harry Ransom Center, James I, King James Bible, Manifold Greatness, National Endowment for the Humanities, University of Oxford, University of Texas at Austin, University of Toronto | Leave A Comment »
It seems amazing how far we’ve come since I first broached the subject of doing something on the KJB at the Folger when I was a fellow back in 2007-2008.
What started out as an idea for a Folger exhibition has snowballed into a joint exhibition with the Bodleian and the Harry Ransom Center, a traveling panel show, and a major website, funded by the NEH, and a collection of essays to accompany all this, The Making of the King James Bible, published by the Bodleian. Since I was already organizing a conference at Ohio State and editing a book for Cambridge – The King James Bible after Four Hundred Years – before the Folger events were even thought of, the last few years of my life have become pretty much all KJB, all the time.
But these many months of labor are starting to bear fruit. I’m excited to see the fabulous website now in its final stages, ready to launch in mid-April, to hear about libraries and colleges across the country that are applying to the ALA to host the panel exhibition, and to see, with my co-curator Steve Galbraith, and Caryn Lazzuri, Exhibitions Manager, the exhibition itself start to take shape, as decisions are made, texts are written and rewritten, and loans secured from across the country and overseas. One of the panel titles is “Many Forms for Many Readers,” referring to the variety of shapes and sizes in which Bibles were printed. We could say the same about the whole exhibition – many forms for many readers, viewers, listeners, and visitors at the Folger and beyond. Amazing!
Hannibal Hamlin, an associate professor of English at The Ohio State University, is co-curator of the Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
March 18, 2011 | Categories: At the Bodleian, At the Folger, At the Harry Ransom Center, From the Curators, On Tour | Tags: American Library Association, Authorized King James Version, Bible, Bibles, Bodleian Library, book, conference, essays, exhibition, Folger Shakespeare Library, Hannibal Hamlin, Harry Ransom Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, Ohio State University, panel | Leave A Comment »