Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Minting the Word

I’ve been excited to see all the different projects being developed to give renewed attention to the Bible. In 2011 we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible and in Chelmsford Diocese we have made next year Bible Year 2011. But celebrations are not limited to churches and Christian organisations and just as encouraging has been the way in which the anniversary has been picked up in wider society and culture.

globe As part of their 2011 season The Globe Theatre is putting on The Word is God and the publicity explains:
Written in 1611, the King James Bible was the work of many hands, and has proved over the last four hundred years the undying power of the written and the spoken word. The Globe celebrates that achievement, and that long oral tradition, by reciting one of the great masterpieces of world literature from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday.

A team of actors will present these texts clear and simple, in a theatre which is constantly working to make Jacobean words become flesh.
The Royal Mint has produced a celebratory £2 King James Bible coin.
Commemorate a beloved cornerstone of our culture and language. Four centuries since its first publication; the King James Bible; still praised by scholars for its majestic style and poetic rhythms is now celebrated on the 2011 £2 coin.
I have to confess I am rather ambivalent about this coin, however, I like that on their site the Royal Mint has a summary explanation about the place and importance of the KJV in our nation's history and culture. The designers of the coin also explain their approach:
KJV mint Paul Stafford & Ben Wright 'Our design for the two pound coin, which marks 400 years since the first edition of the King James Version, celebrates this achievement. Printing matters are at the centre of the history of the King James Bible. After a ban on the printing and importation of the competing Geneva version into England, the King James Version became the most widely accepted translation. As a nod to this, and from the point of view of our own interests and backgrounds as a design agency, we decided to base our design on a representation of the printing process.Typeset in a replica of the black letter typeface used in the first edition, the reversed, raised text of the printing block (on the left) and the recessed text of the printed word (on the right), takes the form of the aptly chosen quote, ‘In the beginning was the Word’ (John 1:1).'
King-James The Royal Mail is planning to issue a set of commemorative stamps to mark the anniversary. Although details about this series are as yet sparse, they are likely to be released towards the end of 2011. In 1999 they did produce a stamp with King James 1st and the Authorised Bible as part of their The Christians’ Tale series.

A film of the story behind the King James Bible is planned for release on DVD. Made by Norman Stone and featuring John Rhys-Davies the docu-drama aims to set the publication of the KJV in its original context. Here’s a taste:

Further details about events to mark the anniversary can be found at the King James Bible Trust.

While it is great to see the various ways in which the Bible is being celebrated and its importance to our history and culture acknowledged, I hope people will also discover that the Bible is as relevant to us today as we read it in our own time and place.

If you would like to find out more about the Bible check out Biblefresh.


Reformation said...

Thanks for the heads-up re: the KJB celebration-memorials for 2011.

1. I was unaware of these developments when I wrote Her Majesty last week. http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2010/12/letter-to-her-majesty-queen-elizabeth.html

2. I also asked for 2012 to be remembered as the 350th anniversary of that good and godly 1662 BCP.

I just discovered your blog and will be following your inquiries and posts.


David Sanford said...

Thanks! Two big surprises tied into the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Version Bible:

1. Two scholars and an international team of researchers have compiled the first worldwide census of extant copies of the original first printing of the 1611 King James Version (sometimes referred to as the "He" Bible). For decades, authorities from the British Museum, et al., have estimated that “around 50 copies” of that first printing still exist. The real number is quite different.

2. As well, one of the two scholars has discovered the exact price at which the first KJV Bibles were sold back in 1611. That price has eluded experts for generations. The finding was quite a surprise.

For more information, you're invited to contact Donald L. Brake, Sr., PhD, at dbrake1611@q.com or his associate David Sanford at drsanford@earthlink.net

Reformation said...

Thanks, David, I posted your comment at Reformation Anglicanism.

Will see what Her Majesty might say in 2011.

Lest we forget. (Might add, 2012, lest we forget the magnum opus of classical Anglicanism, the 1662 BCP.)

Donald Philip Veitch