1611 - The King James Bible

The Authorized version of the Bible printed in 1611 had an enormous influence on the development of the English language. It is often known as the 'King James Bible' because it was initiated by James VI of Scotland. Produced just 70 years after the very first translation of the Bible into English, it remains the best-known English version of the Bible.

The first complete English Bible (Coverdale's Bible) was published in 1535, and this was soon followed by several other versions, principally the Geneva Bible in 1560. The Authorized Version resulted from a project set up by King James VI in 1604, the year after the Union of the Crowns; there were about 50 translators and a programme of extensive criticism and revision. Published in 1611, this book gave English-speaking peoples a Bible they did not even propose to revise for 270 years. Its influence was immense: 'The beauty of the language commended the teaching of the sacred books and made them dear to the heart of the people, while it made an indelible and enduring impression alike on literature and on popular speech'.

The title pages are outstanding examples of the precision obtainable from copperplate engraving.

The Holy Bible. London, 1611. H.S.385

The King James Bible


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