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King James Bible @ 400

December 7, 2010

2011 will mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the “King James Bible” (a.k.a., King James Version, a.k.a. Authorised Version), and there are many events scheduled and being scheduled to observe and celebrate this.  The invitation to give the 2011 Ethel M. Wood Lecture (Heythrop College, London, Wednesday, 02 February 2011) included the request that I link it with the KJB anniversary.  I’m writing the lecture now (more later).

In the process of small explorations on the internet, I’ve found the web site of the King James Bible Trust (based in the UK), which has lots of interesting audio/video material on the history of the Bible in English.  (Ignore the home page photo of Boris Johnson, currently Mayor of London!)

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  1. A couple of churches in my area have asked me to do some presentations next year on the history of the English Bible. I want to be able to set the story/stories in a large frame. So, for example, I’m looking for good resources for, say, understanding the world of Wyclif and Tyndale. Any suggestions? Many thanks for any help.

    • Probably “the daddy” study is David Daniell, The bible in English (Yale University Press, 2003). At 775 pp, plus notes, indexes & bibliography, it’s a door-stop-size work, but well researched, well written, and highly informative. There are whole chapters on Wyclif, Tyndale, and the historical settings of these and other figures.

  2. 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 or his associate David Sanford at

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