Payson Library will host a national traveling exhibition until Friday, Sept. 21 titled, “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible.”
The exhibit, which commemorates the 400th anniversary since the first printing of the King James Bible, was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Pepperdine was one of 40 venues specially selected to display the exhibit and one of only three in California. The exhibition traces the origins, creation and impact of the King James Bible. High-quality reproductions of rare and historic books, manuscripts and works of art combined with interpretive text and related images will be on display courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library collections. In addition to the panel exhibit, five lectures and a film screening will be offered, all of which are free and open to the public.
The exhibit and each respective speaker will demonstrate the profound influence the King James Bible has had on society, culture, literature and religion.
“What’s really important here is that we are bringing speakers in principally from our own community of scholars at Pepperdine,” said Mark Roosa, dean of Pepperdine University Libraries. Speakers include Pepperdine Provost Dr. Darryl Tippens, Dr. Cyndia Clegg, Dr. Dyron Daughrity, Dr. Ronald R. Cox, Dr. Craig Detweiler and guest lecturer Dr. Lori Anne Ferrell.
On Aug. 23, Pepperdine provost Tippens spoke at the opening lecture titled “The Book that Turned the World Upside Down,” and focused on the King James Bible as a revolutionary book, not merely a religious text. “The King James Bible is a revolutionary text with unintended consequences,” said Tippens. The opening ceremony featured a 1630 edition of the King James Bible on display.
Four centuries after its first printing in 1611, the King James Bible remains one of the most influential and widely read books in the world. Many versions of the Bible draw from the King James Bible. Translated by 54 translators, the King James Bible was, at one time, the predominant English-language Bible in the United States.
Prior to its publication, just the thought of translating the Bible into English was considered dangerous and even criminal. Following its publication, families used the Bible to chronicle important events such as births, deaths and marriages.
Pepperdine is an institution that blends both faith and learning and this exhibit exemplifies the idea of a Christian education. “We are a faith-based institution and unabashedly so,” Roosa said. Having the freedom to display an exhibit of such a religious nature “speaks to our uniqueness as an institution.”
The event was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. and the American Library Association Public Programs Office.