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British Academy conference: The King James Bible at 400


The Archbishop will speak at the British Academy's conference "The King James Bible at 400: Celebration or Valediction?".   The event will evaluate the KJV's literary and cultural influences, and the speakers will debate whether the Bible will retain its unique place in British culture in the future. 

Session One: The historical context of the King James Bible

Exploring the social and theological context of the early 17th century, the rival church movements of the period, the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, the Hebrew and Greek scholarship that went into the production of the King James Bible, and its relationship with earlier versions

Chair: Professor Frances Young, OBE, FBA (University of Birmingham)

  • Professor Naomi Tadmor (University of Lancaster)
  • Professor James Dunn, FBA (Durham University)
  • Professor Kenneth Fincham (University of Kent)

Session Two: The literary and cultural influence of the King James Bible

Exploring the King James Bible’s influence on Enlightenment thought, the various ways in which it has inspired writers, artists and musicians, including Shakespeare, Milton and Blake, and its unique place within British culture.

Chair: Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, FBA (University of Oxford)

  • Professor Jonathan Bate, CBE, FBA (University of Oxford)
  • Professor Chris Rowland (University of Oxford)
  • David Edgar

Session Three: The King James Bible at 400: Celebration or Valediction?

This session, opening with a keynote contribution from the Archbishop, will consider the past, present and future of the King James Bible from different theological, historical, literary and sociological perspectives – and its prospects for surviving a further four centuries.

Chair: Bettany Hughes

  • His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, FBA
  • Salley Vickers
  • Professor David Martin, FBA (London School of Economics & Political Science)



Read or listen to the Archbishop's address here

Event details

Start date:04/11/2011

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