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The King James Bible: the making of a classic translation

Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education, King’s College London

Date/Time: 3rd November 2011

The King James Bible was published 400 years ago, and went on to become both a literary and religious classic. It is widely regarded as the most influential and important English translation of the Bible. But how did this translation come about? What led James I to authorise a new translation? How were the translators appointed? How did they go about their task? And what sort of translation resulted? This lecture explored the making of this classic translation, examining many facets of its production, and considering its distinct and influential ‘voice’. Alister considered its slow rise to fame, and what led it to be treated with such reverence and respect in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Finally, the lecture looked at problems with the translation encountered in the twentieth century, which resulted in the myriad translations found in bookshops today.