News and Events
Pepperdine University Libraries will host a traveling exhibition, titled "Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible," from Thursday, Aug. 23 to Friday, Sept. 21, celebrating the 400 years since the first printing of the historic King James Bible.
The exhibit will contain high-quality reproductions of rare and historic books, manuscripts, and works of art from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library collections, combined with interpretive text and related images.
In addition, Pepperdine Libraries will host a number of events in connection with the exhibition, including five lectures and a film screening, all free and open to the public. (See below for details.)
First printed in 1611, the King James Bible was translated over several years by six committees of England's top scholars and 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.
Less than a century before it was produced, the very idea of the Bible translated into English was considered dangerous and even criminal. The King James Bible had a profound influence on personal lives and local communities following its publication—for example, the Bible became a place for many families to record births, deaths, marriages, and other important events in their history.
In the 400 years since the King James Bible was first published, its influence can be seen in the language and style of the works of many authors, including John Milton, William Blake, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. In the 20th century, many poets and novelists—such as John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath, William Faulkner in Absalom, Absalom, and Toni Morrison in The Song of Solomon—allude to the Bible in ways that enrich their narratives.
"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," says Mark Roosa, dean of Pepperdine University Libraries. "The captivating history and influence of the King James Bible will interest many viewers. This exhibition shows how important this book has been in history and helps audiences to develop a new understanding of its social, cultural, literary, and religious influence over four centuries."
The traveling exhibit was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office.
LECTURES (in Payson Library, Malibu):
Thursday, Aug. 23, 4 p.m.: opening lecture and reception
"John Milton and the King James Bible"—Pepperdine Provost Darryl Tippens
Thursday, Aug. 30, 4 p.m.
"The King James Bible and Early English Biblical Translations"—Cyndia Clegg, Distinguished Professor of English
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 4 p.m.
"The King's English in a Tamil Tongue: Missions, Paternalism, and Hybridity in South India"—Dyron Daughrity, associate professor of religion
Thursday, Sept. 13, 4 p.m.
"The Bible and the People"—Lori Anne Ferrell, Chair of English and professor of early modern history and literature, Claremont Graduate University
Thursday, Sept. 20, 4 p.m.
"The King James Bible in North American Churches Today"—Ronald Cox, associate professor of religion
FILM SCREENING (in Elkins Auditorium, Malibu):
Sunday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.,
KJB: The Book That Changed the World
Featuring a discussion led by Craig Detweiler, director of the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture and associate professor of communication