Events in Malta
Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible
Throughout the English-speaking world people have been celebrating one of the greatest literary creations in the English language.
King James VI of Scotland and I of England succeeded his famous cousin Elizabeth I of England in 1603, uniting Scotland with England and Wales. To foster unity within the countries and between religious factions, he commissioned fifty-four scholars to make a new translation of the Bible. It was completed in 1611 and is known as the ‘Authorised’ or ‘King James’ Version.’ The essential purpose of the text was that it should be read aloud in every church in the land. The language was resonant, rhythmic, and easy to remember.
The King James Bible is so memorable that it has had a greater influence on the English language and literature than even Shakespeare. Indeed it inspired the first translation of the Bible into Maltese.Malta, too, is planning to join in the celebrations. The English-Speaking Union of Malta, the English Dept at the University of Malta, St Andrew’s Scots Church and the Anglican Chaplaincy, amongst others, have shared ideas for involving as many English speakers as possible in three weeks of events, from 9th to 23rd October.
From Sunday, 9th October, after 1 p.m. and then daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until 19th October, there will be a Readathon of the whole Old and New Testaments. This is a real challenge. As many readers are needed as possible of all ages and nationalities, residents and tourists, to make it an inspiring occasion. If you would like to join in, contact The Anglican Chaplaincy in Malta and Gozo. Website; http:www.anglicanmalta.org; e-mail: Anglican@onvol.net or tel: 2122 5714
Throughout the period there will be exhibitions about the Bible at St Paul’s Cathedral and St Andrew’s Scots Church.
On Wednesday, 12th October, a Lunchtime Concert of music from Handel’s ‘Messiah’, text from KJB, will be given at St Paul’s by the North-West Festival Chorus, conducted by John Bethel.
On Friday, 21st October at 6 p.m., Dr Christopher de Hamel, the Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, will give a talk on ‘The Invention of The Bible’, at St Andrew’s Church, 210 Old Bakery St, Valletta. He was for many years head of illuminated manuscripts at Sotheby’s and has written many books on medieval manuscripts and the history of Bibles. He has been an adviser to the creators of the unique parchment ‘St John’s Bible,’ commissioned by the Order of St Benedict, in Minnesota. Recently he brought the Gospel Book of St Augustine to the Pope during the historic Evensong at Westminster Abbey. The lecture is being supported by The Farson’s Foundation.
On Saturday, 22nd October at 6 p.m., Prof Michael O’Neill of Durham University will give a talk at the Gateway Building, University of Malta, on ‘The Bible as Literature’. His publications include, as editor, ‘The Cambridge History of English Poetry’ and ‘Wheel’, a volume of poems. Prof O’Neill has been involved with the University in the past. The lecture is being supported by The English Speaking Union.
On Sunday, 23rd October at 6 p.m., the crowning celebration will be a Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s Anglican ProCathedral, Valletta, led by St Paul Choral Society, with anthems, hymns and prayers, and up to nine readings from the KJB contributed by English speakers from around the world, including Malta. The evening is being supported by the Bank of Valletta.