Claremont Insider: CGU Exhibit Opening in November

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CGU Exhibit Opening in November

The King James Bible was published in 1611, and to mark that quartercentenary Claremont Graduate University will host a three-month exhibition beginning in November at Honnald/Mudd Library. Here's what CGU has to say:

Claremont Graduate University to host exhibition celebrating 400th anniversary of the King James Bible

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and the Claremont Colleges’ Honnold/Mudd Library will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible by hosting a traveling exhibition examining the immeasurable impact the book has had on secular and religious culture.

Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible opens on Nov. 10 and runs through Jan. 6.

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.

Highlighting the exhibit will be a first edition of the King James Bible from 1611.

The story behind the King James Bible remains surprisingly little known, despite the book’s enormous fame. Translated over several years by six committees of England’s top scholars, and first printed in 1611, the King James Bible became the most influential English translation of the Bible and one of the most widely read books in the world.

For many years, it was the predominant English-language Bible in the United States, where it is still widely read today. Even many of those whose lives have been affected by the King James Bible may not realize that less than a century before it was produced, the very idea of the Bible translated into English was considered dangerous and even criminal.

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. Essential to this story is the profound influence that it has had on personal lives and local communities.

The King James Bible has influenced everything from literature (Moby Dick, Shakespeare, comic books) to music (early American psalters, Handel's Messiah; contemporary reggae) to media culture (the recitation of Genesis 1:1 by the crew of the Apollo 13 spacecraft; the ending of "A Charlie Brown Christmas").

The traveling exhibition consists of high-quality reproductions of rare and historic books, manuscripts, and works of art from the Folger and Bodleian collections, combined with interpretive text and related images. The Claremont Colleges' Honnold/Mudd Library will supplement the traveling exhibit with rare artifacts and treasures from its Special Collections.

"Claremont Graduate University is delighted to have been selected to host this exhibition," said Lori Anne Ferrell, professor of early modern literature and history in CGU’s School of Arts and Humanities. "The King James Bible – both in Britain, its country of origin, and in America, where it has exerted greatest influence – is a work of historic importance, enduring inspiration, and ongoing fascination. This exhibition will document its remarkable religious, educational, literary, political, and cultural impact over four centuries."

The exhibition is free and open to the public. CGU and the Honnold/Mudd Library are sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University, the graduate institution of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.