Inside take on a Folger, Bodleian, and Ransom Center exhibition on the creation and afterlife of the King James Bible on the 400th anniversary of its publication.

Posts tagged “Reading marathon

Taking the stage at Shakespeare’s Globe (and beyond!)

In the world of King James Bible celebrations in this anniversary year of 2011, one of the most widely anticipated events will begin this Sunday: reading through the entire King James Bible on the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe in London (left).

Five groups of actors at a time, many of them Globe regulars, will make their way through every word of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis 1 to the end of Revelation, over a series of epic readthroughs (audience members, we understand, can quietly come and go). This Sunday alone will include readings from 10 am to midnight, with one half-hour break. Throughout the week, six-hour sessions ending at midnight will carry the text forward, followed by a marathon reading on Good Friday, more on Easter Sunday, and the final round on Easter Monday. For more information, consult the Globe’s own Blogging the Bible!

We’ve noted before the startling number of marathon King James Bible readthroughs this spring, both secular and religious (“Reading the (whole) KJB aloud”). As of today, for example, two churches in Fife are midway through an attempt to become the first churches in Scotland to read the entire King James Bible aloud. The Bath Lit Fest, as we reported, had its celebrity-laden King James Bible Challenge, and in late May, there’s the Hay Festival’s planned KJB reading in 96 hours, to be conducted by churches on both sides of the English-Welsh border. And there have been many more, and, no doubt, more to come.


Reading the (whole) KJB aloud

Moody Bible Institute radio show

How long does it take to read aloud the King James Bible? The 400th-anniversary year of 2011 is giving us lots of chances to find out.

This week, the BBC reports on an organized “reading relay” at a church in Sussex that began on Monday and, if all goes as planned, will wrap up this Sunday, March 27, with breaks at night. Earlier in March, the King James Bible Challenge at the 2011 Bath Lit Fest went for a round-the-clock approach expected to take 120 hours. In the end, it clocked in at 96 hours. Then there’s the on-going, global “public reading” being created through the YouTube Bible project (Prince Charles recently added fourteen verses) — although that one is probably a topic for another day.

It’s all very much in the spirit of the King James Bible translators, who knew that they were producing a translation to be heard, not just read. They even read aloud alternative wordings in their committee meetings, seeking rhetorical power through word choice and word order, while still focused on accuracy. To hear the results for yourself, try reading aloud this line from the older, 1568 Bishops’ Bible: “Get thee up betimes and be bright, for thy light cometh.” (Isaiah 60:1). Then, listen to the same line from the King James Bible: “Arise, shine, for thy light is come.”