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UW Libraries to Host National Exhibition Celebrating 400th Anniversary of King James Bible

September 21, 2012

The origins, creation and impact of one of history’s most influential books is the focus of a national traveling exhibition that will be displayed Oct. 7-31 at the University of Wyoming’s Coe Library.

“Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible,” a national traveling exhibition for libraries, will open Sunday, Oct. 7, at 4:10 p.m. in Room 506 of Coe Library. Renowned Bible translation scholar Philip Stine will discuss the creation and early reception of the King James Bible, and be available to sign copies of his book, “Four Hundred Years on the Best Seller List.”

The year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible in 1611. The exhibition not only highlights the dramatic tale behind the making of this great book, but also includes its influence on English and American literature, and its multifaceted impact on culture and society to the present day.

The exhibition provides a chronological narrative that focuses on the human side of this major cultural landmark and explores the book’s social, cultural, literary and religious influence over four centuries, from Handel's “Messiah,” Melville's “Moby Dick” and Toni Morrison's “Song of Solomon” to the reading of Genesis -- in the King James Bible version -- by astronauts orbiting the moon.

In addition to the exhibit and other book displays, the American Heritage Center’s Toppan Library will exhibit Bibles from its rare books collection, and the Albany County Public Library (ACPL) will host a display of Bible translations through the ages. ACPL will host the BYUtv film series, “Fires of Faith: The Coming Forth of the King James Bible.”

For more information, call (307) 766-3279 or visit and click on the Manifold Greatness link under “Dusty Shelves” for event details.

The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible.” It is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas. The traveling exhibition was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Thomas Trevelyon’s James 1, 1608 (Folger Shakespeare Library)

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