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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Manifold Greatness: The Making of the King James Bible
Moore, Helen and Julian Reid, editors

Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2011 pp. 208. $35.00


Description: Published to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, Manifold Greatness tells the story of the creation and immediate afterlife of the King James translation of the Bible, first published in 1611. Revolutionary at its time, the King James translation quickly became the dominant authorized translation of the Christian Bible in English. There are more than one billion copies in print, making it the best-selling book of all time, and its effect on the English language is incalculable, both in common speech and in literature. This accessible and richly illustrated visual history contains eighty color illustrations, including images of rare manuscripts, artifacts, and archival material such as the annotated Bodleian Bishops’ Bible of 1602, pages from the Wycliffite and Tyndale Bibles, and an edition of the Bishop’s Bible owned by Elizabeth I. Eight chapters contributed by leading academics in the field discuss the history of biblical translation, the political background of the project, the Oxford Translators—including Henry Savile, John Rainolds, and John Harmar—and their working milieu, the cultural politics, and the reception and influence of the King James Bible up until the 1769 publication of the Oxford Standard Edition, which was the first revision of the original 1611 translation. Also included is a look at the later reception of the King James Bible in America, including a chapter specifically on the King James Bible and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Manifold Greatness brings together key research and documentation to provide a lively and comprehensive visual account to celebrate one of the most important occasions in publishing and modern religious history.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

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Review by David G. Burke
Published 8/28/2012
Citation: David G. Burke, review of Helen Moore and Julian Reid, eds., Manifold Greatness: The Making of the King James Bible, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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