Well, I’m off to Londontown, UK, taking a class of undergraduates from Ohio State for a week-long trek through “Literary London.”
We’ll be standing on ground of huge importance to the making of the King James Bible and its subsequent history. We’ll tour Westminster Abbey, for instance, where two of the six teams of translators were ensconced; they worked in the Jerusalem Chamber, a location Shakespeare also mentions in Henry IV, Part 2. We’ll also visit St. Paul’s and Southwark Cathedral, where English Christians have heard the KJB read and sung for 400 years. Some of Shakespeare’s theater colleagues worshipped at Southwark (then St. Saviour), since it was near the Globe; his brother Edmund was buried there. The playwrights John Fletcher and Philip Massinger are also buried at Southwark, as is the great preacher Lancelot Andrewes, one of the KJB translators.
Our last two days are in Stratford, and we’ll visit Holy Trinity Church, where it’s possible Shakespeare himself heard readings from the then-new King James Bible. He retired to Stratford about the time the King James Bible was published, and this was supposed to be the Bible translation used in English Churches from then on. Whether Holy Trinity actually purchased and put to use copies of the KJB before Shakespeare’s death in 1616, I don’t know.
Hannibal Hamlin, associate professor of English at The Ohio State University, is co-curator of the Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
March 19, 2011 | Categories: From the Curators, Influences, The KJB in History | Tags: Authorized King James Version, Holy Trinity Church, John Fletcher, Lancelot Andrewes, London, Ohio State University, Philip Massinger, Southwark Cathedral, St. Paul's, St. Saviour, Stratford, The Globe, Westminster Abbey, William Shakespeare | 1 Comment »