Overview of exhibition themes
The traveling exhibition content is arranged in fourteen panels that follow a chronological narrative and focus on the human side of this major cultural landmark. Here is an outline of the themes developed in the exhibition panels:
Panel 1: “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible” offers visitors a brief, engaging introduction to the exhibition and an intriguing sense of the materials and themes that it includes.
Panel 2: Martyrs and Heretics tells the stories of two of the earliest individuals to struggle against Church authorities to produce an English translation of the Bible: John Wyclif (d. 1384) and William Tyndale (born c. 1494, executed 1536).
Panel 3: Bible and Crown shows visitors how quickly Bible translation in England—once deemed heretical—came to be celebrated as a legitimate act of royal authority.
Panel 4: The Long Road to the King James Bible introduces visitors to two important Bibles that preceded the King James Bible: the Geneva Bible and the Bishops’ Bible.
Panel 5: King James and the Council of Hampton Court describes the genesis of the King James Bible, which began with a request to the king during a three-day meeting between James I and his clergy in 1604.
Panel 6: “Reaping Good Fruit”: Creating the King James Bible explains that the King James Bible was the work of forty-seven translators, divided into six companies (two each from Cambridge, Oxford, and Westminster).
Panel 7: Misprints and Misfortunes: Printing the King James Bible shows that the printing of the King James Bible contributed to the ruin of Robert Barker, the King’s printer.
Panel 8: A Variety of Forms for a Variety of Readers demonstrates how the King James Bible appeared in a variety of typefaces and sizes for a variety of readers.
Panel 9: “Used” King James Bibles shows how owners used specific copies of the Bible—to record family events, to personalize with ornate bindings, or to take notes.
Panel 10: Illustrating the King James Bible describes the tradition of illustrating Bibles which stretches back at least as far as medieval manuscripts.
Panel 11: Cross-Atlantic Echoes: English and American Literary Influences demonstrates the great influence of the King James Bible on British, American, and other Anglophone literatures over the past four hundred years.
Panel 12: Shakespeare and the King James Bible: Debunking the Myth addresses the legend of Shakespeare’s involvement in the translation of the King James Bible.
Panel 13: Sailing to America tells the story of the King James Bible after its arrival in America on the Mayflower in 1620.
Panel 14: An Ever-Widening Influence concludes the exhibition with an exploration of the broad social and cultural impact of the King James Bible.