This 1534 Bible printed by Martin Lempereur in what is today Antwerp, Belgium, is the oldest Bible in the Meeter Center's collection.

This 1534 Bible printed by Martin Lempereur in what is today Antwerp, Belgium, is the oldest Bible in the Meeter Center's collection.

A number of Calvin departments and institutes have teamed up to put together a quartet of events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.

On Friday, April 15, 2011, Gordon Campbell, a professor of renaissance studies at the University of Leicester in England and a Milton and seventeenth-century scholar, will talk about his book, Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011.  His lecture, which will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Calvin Seminary Auditorium, will focus on the events unfolding in the early seventeenth century as the King James Bible was begin prepared and published.

“We are focusing on the King James Bible because it is 400 years old this year, but we are actually using these events as an opportunity to think about and celebrate English Bible translations,” said Susan Felch, English professor at Calvin College. “It’s much better to think of the King James Bible not as an individual monument, but rather as a culmination of English Bible translations.”

Karin Maag, director of the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, and curator Paul Fields will also provide some of that context. On Tuesday, March 29, Maag and Fields will be displaying and discussing the oldest printed Bibles in the library’s collection, setting the King James Bible in the broader context of 16th-and 17th-century scriptures. The presentation will be at 3:30 p.m. in the Meeter Center (4th floor of Hekman Library).

At 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 4, in the Commons Lecture Hall, English professor James Vanden Bosch will give a lecture “Every Man Heard Them Speak in His Own Language” on the influence of the King James Bible on contemporary writing.

“The influence of the King James Bible is hard to quantify in a meaningful way,” said Vanden Bosch. “But it’s possible to demonstrate its influence on contemporary American literature beyond a listing of the words and phrases borrowed from that translation.”

In addition to the three lectures, an exhibit of items related to the origin and impact of the King James Bible translation will be displayed from March 24 through May 30, 2011 on the second floor of the Hekman Library.

The events are co-sponsored by the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship, Hekman Library, the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin Seminary and the departments of English, history, congregational ministries and religion.

See full schedule of events

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