Marking 400 years of the King James Bible

December 20th, 2011

The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham was taking part in a series of free talks at The University of Nottingham’s Great Hall this month to commemorate 400 years of the King James Bible.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler’s talk – A Bible for Ordinary People – focused on why the King James version came about, what it was hoped it would achieve and some thoughts on the effect it actually had. This will lead on to further reflection on the Bible as a living book and its continued impact in the lives of ordinary people.
The Living Word Within the Printed Word was the title of a talk by The Revd Canon Professor Anthony Thiselton, Professor of Christian Theology in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Its focus was on whether we can hear God speak through the multiple styles and sources within the Bible, and is what the Bible achieves better explained as a quest of human aspiration, or as the living voice of God.
The King James Bible has had a profound impact on English language and culture, with many phrases still in use today. In A word in season: the King James Bible and English on Wednesday 16 November, Dr Paul Cavill, a lecturer in Old English in the Department of English, was exploring the King James Bible’s legacy and its relevance to the present and the future.
The talks were organised by the University Chaplaincy.
The King James Bible, or Authorised Version, is perhaps the best-known version of the Bible, and its poetic English has been treasured for centuries. Its importance to Christians, however, is due to it being the translation of the Bible in the language of the day, which became the dominant translation and which has had a deep effect on the development of British thought and culture
Though superseded by many other translations, the King James Bible has remained a masterpiece of literature for people of many faiths and even those of none. Events are being held across the UK to mark the 400th anniversary, including a service at Westminster Abbey on 16 November.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler is an alumnus of the University of Nottingham, (English and History 1977). He has worked with students and with Scripture Union. He maintains a passionate interest in world mission, and also acts as an “Advocate” for children and young people in church and society amongst the bishops of the Church of England
Revd Thiselton, a Fellow of the British Academy, is known internationally for his work on hermeneutics – the theory of the interpretation of scripture. His research interests include modern Christian theology, and the application of philosophy of language to biblical studies. He has had a number of biblical commentaries published.
Dr Cavill has researched the history of the English language and place names, early English Christianity and hagiography. An enduring interest is the interaction of Christian ideas with English culture and literature.
The King James Bible Trust has been established to celebrate the 400th anniversary. Visit:

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