‘To make a good one better’: Translating the Bible

Thursday, 2 June 2011 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Location: The Weston Room, Maughan Library, King’s College London, Chancery Lane, London, United Kingdom
Organisation: King’s College London
Topic: Bible


This exhibition, conceived to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible in 1611, draws on King’s College London’s world class holdings of printed Bibles to explore the story behind their creation – the struggles and setbacks faced by translators and publishers and some of the dilemmas involved in the act of translating an ancient sacred text into a spoken language of today. The exhibition also illuminates the part which King’s College London has played – and continues to play – in the advancement of Biblical scholarship.

Items on display include the second folio edition of the King James Bible (1613), a rare Low German Luther Bible (1578), the only recorded copy of the first edition of Genesis to be printed on North American soil (the so-called ‘Algonquin Genesis’ of 1655) and the first Bible to be printed in a language of the Indian sub-continent (the Tamil New Testament of 1715). Many exhibits are taken from the library of the linguistic scholar William Marsden (1754-1836), who assembled a matchless collection of printed Bibles from all over the world. We are delighted also to display a volume of the 21st century Saint John’s Bible, a masterpiece of contemporary fine printing and illumination, lent to the College by kind permission of the church of St Martin-in-the Fields.

A special feature of the exhibition is a free demonstration of Accordance, a software tool for Biblical scholarship. The demonstration model is available for visitors to try out during exhibition opening hours, Monday-Friday only.

Opening hours

Until 31 July: Monday-Saturday, 9.30-17.00

From 1 August: Monday-Friday 9.30-17.00

Westminster Abbey The Bible Society Bush Theatre Historic Royal Palaces Wallspace Gallery