'To Make a Good One Better'

YC Faculty to explore impact of King James translation of the Bible

Since its publication in 1611, the King James translation of the Bible has become arguably the most influential book in Western culture. Its impact has been felt in politics, business, language, literature, religion, and many other areas of society. This translation is still in print and being widely used today.

To recognize the 400th anniversary of this work, there will be a symposium on the publication presented by York College faculty from the English, Biblical Studies, and History departments.

“No other book in history has had such an impact on any culture for 400 years,” says Dr. Frank Wheeler, chair of the Biblical Studies department and professor of Bible at York College. During this anniversary year, symposiums are being held around the world.

“We’re not celebrating it as the best translation. We are simply recognizing that it’s had such an impact culturally,” says Wheeler.

 “’To Make a Good One Better’: The King James Bible, 1611-2011” will be presented over two evenings, November 8 and 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Miller Room of the Mackey Center on the York College campus.

On Tuesday, November 8, Assistant Professor of English Josh Fullman will present “Adorning the Past: KJV as Art, Artifact, and Argument.” His presentation will be followed by Dr. Terry Seufferlein, assistant professor of Bible, presenting "Putting Words in God's Mouth:  Translating the Bible into English."

The second night of the symposium, Tuesday, November 29, will feature Beverly McNeese, assistant professor of English, presenting "More than 'A labour of love' : Poetic Phraseology and Cultural Continuity in the KJV."  Dr. Frank Wheeler will conclude the event with his presentation "In the Wake of the King James Bible."

Tim McNeese, associate professor of history, will moderate the event. Both evenings will have a question and answer session.

A facsimile copy of an original King James Bible will be on display at the symposium, as well as a leaf from an original, 400-year-old KJV Bible. Additional historical displays featuring important translations of the Bible will also be available.

“We will have some Elizabethan-era costumes on display to give those attending a historical visual and help them better imagine the era in which the KJV was written, as well as a display of English coins from the 1500s and 1600s,” says McNeese. “Renaissance-style foods will also be served as refreshments by costumed students, again to enhance the total experience of King James' world.”

There is no cost to attend the event. All with an interest in history, literature, or Biblical studies are invited to attend.

For more information, contact Dr. Frank Wheeler at fwheeler@york.edu or 402-363-5646.

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