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Traveling exhibition on 400th anniversary of King James Bible comes to ASU

October 24, 2011

"Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible" is a national traveling exhibition for libraries that tells the story of the origins, creation and impact of one of the most influential books in history. The exhibition opens Nov. 14 at Hayden Library on the Tempe campus.

The year 2011 marks 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.

This chronological narrative 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.

"Manifold Greatness" was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. 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.

The ASU Libraries, collaborating with the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS), the Department of English, and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), are sponsoring several free programs for the public in connection with the exhibition during the week of Nov. 14.

A panel discussion is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m., Nov. 14, in Hayden Library room C6 East, with faculty from the Department of English.

That evening several faculty from SHPRS will participate in a discussion titled “The Dawn of King James Bible in America.” This event will take place at 7:30 p.m., in the Memorial Union, room 202, and refreshments will be served. 

ACMRS will present their fall symposium, “Celebrating 400 Years of the King James Bible,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 19, in Hayden Library Room C6 East.

All programs are free and open to the public.

Visit or contact Rachel Leket-Mor for more information. "Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible" will be on display at the Hayden Library through Dec. 16.