Whitworth exhibit highlights the King James Bible

King James Bible display at Whitworth/Tracy Simmons
King James Bible display at Whitworth/Tracy Simmons

The King James Bible’s 400-year history is on display at Whitworth University.

Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible, which showcases the text’s history and significance, will be on display at Whitworth’s Harriet Cheney Cowles Library through May 11.

“This exhibition shows how important this book has been in history and helps audiences to develop a new understanding of its social, cultural, literary and religious influences over four centuries,” said librarian Amy Rice.

Whitworth is one of 40 sites across the country exhibiting Manifold the Greatness.

A series of informative panels on display explain who King James was, how the translation came to be, how it was translated, printed and distributed how it continues to be an influence in today’s society.

Manifold Greatness display at Whitworth/Tracy Simmons
Manifold Greatness display at Whitworth/Tracy Simmons

For example, several phrases from the King James Bible are still used regularly, like “salt of the earth,” “the blind lead the blind” and “apple of his eye.”

Astronauts from Apollo 8, Bob Marley and even Charlie Brown have referenced the King James.

“In a lot of ways it’s so embedded in our culture and we don’t even realize it,” Rice said, noting that although other translations of the Bible may be used more regularly, they can never replace lyrical elegance of the King James.

Gonzaga University and Whitworth’s Archives and Special Collections Department both have displays at the exhibit, showing items like the George Whitworth Bible, the Geneva Bible and the salesman bible.

“I like how it explains the history,” said Alex Solodyankin, a junior at Whitworth. “I never knew what lead to the King James, I always thought it was the original Bible. A lot of things have stemmed from the King James and it’s always good to know why.”

Several events were organized around the exhibit, including the upcoming lecture by Gonzaga Professor of Religious Studies Linda Shearing will discuss the Bible and popular culture at the Spokane Valley Library on April 30.

More information is available on the Whitworth library’s Facebook page.

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