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Bible study

King James exhibit stops at Whitworth for monthlong stay

If you’ve ever said that your world has been turned upside down, or something reminded you of a lamb being led to the slaughter, or if you know that to everything there is a season, you can thank the King James Bible.

Phrases introduced to the language in the King James 400 years ago are still in modern circulation.

That’s just one interesting thing you’ll learn at “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible” coming to Whitworth University for a monthlong exhibit, starting Wednesday. Some other things you’ll learn:

• In 1604, four dozen of England’s best Protestant scholars began translating the Bible into English. Picture Hollywood’s top screenwriters collaborating on a blockbuster movie. The scholars finished the King James Bible in 1611, and their translation remained one of most read books in the world for the next 200 years.

• First editions of the King James Bible weighed about 18 pounds. “This size made it suitable for use at the pulpit in English churches, which were required to have a Bible ‘of the largest and greatest volume,’ ” according to the Manifold Greatness website.

  • The King James Bible, despite competition from later translations, has endured. Presidents often choose it to take the oath of office. Musicians use it in their lyrics. Linus quotes from it in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And on Christmas Eve 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts read from it in a broadcast while orbiting the moon.

• Whitworth and Gonzaga universities are contributing about a dozen artifacts to add some three-dimensional elements to the exhibit.

The 1874 Bible that belonged to George Whitworth, the university’s founder, will be on display. And one of Gonzaga’s contributions is a Franklin Mint re-creation of an 1830 Thomason Medallic Bible in which selected Bible scenes and verses are engraved on sterling silver medals.

History, religion and popular culture mingle in this exhibit; Whitworth is one of just 40 sites selected for the traveling show, and one of two in Washington state.

“I hope the entire Spokane and Inland Northwest community come to the exhibit,” said Amy Rice, Whitworth librarian. “Although the King James Bible is primarily a religious work, it has great cultural and literary value.”

Reporter Rebecca Nappi can be reached at rebeccan@spokesman.com, or (509) 459-5496.


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