27 September 2011

Bible anniversary to be marked by study day

Colchester Campus

Two great monuments to the English language, the King James Bible and Shakespeare, will be compared and contrasted as part of a special public study day to be held at the University of Essex, marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of the 1611 English version of the Bible.

Spreading the Word, to be held on Saturday 29 October, is one of a series of nationwide events marking this historic anniversary, and organiser Dr Roger Moss wanted to make sure Essex put its unique stamp on celebrations.

The local perspective will also come into play, as two of the speakers will delve into the literary collection of Colchester-born Archbishop Samuel Harsnett, housed in the University’s Albert Sloman Library.

The first of several thought-provoking talks for the day debates the 1611 Bible versus the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Dr Moss said: “ One of the few things these two have in common is that they are both given to every castaway on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.”

Other topics for discussion range as widely as the impact of the Bible on African slavery and American poetry.

Contributors to the day include writer and cultural historian, Marina Warner, who is a Professor in the University’s department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and James Raven, Professor of Modern History, who specialises in the history of the book.

Dr Moss said: “The question of translation and transmission of texts has always been central to the way literature is studied at the University of Essex. This will be touched on in a number of ways during our study day, which will include asking how early Bible translators overcame objections that it ran the risk of heresy to make Scripture available to ordinary people in their own language.”

Dr Moss said:”As well as a diversity of approaches from historians and literary scholars at Essex, we also want to hear the views of those who are attending the Day of Study.”

If you wish to attend the day, which will be held in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at the Colchester campus, Wivenhoe Park, please e-mail kjbibled@essex.ac.uk or go to the booking page on the University website http://www.essex.ac.uk/conferences_king_james_bible.

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