From pilgrims to astronauts...the King James Bible is a major cultural landmark, adding the University of Dayton to its ever-growing tale.

    University of Dayton Libraries is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition, Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible, August 24, 2012 through September 19, 2012.

    Manifold Greatness is a traveling exhibition for libraries organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas. The traveling exhibition was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    The year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible. The exhibit not only highlights the dramatic history behind the making of this great book, but also includes its influence on English and American literature, and its multifaceted impact on culture and society to the present day. Even many of those whose lives have been affected by the King James Bible may not realize that less than a century before it was produced, the very idea of the Bible translated into English was considered dangerous and even criminal. Many may also be unaware of the meticulous work of some four dozen of England's top scholars, who labored for years to complete the translation, now named "the King James Bible" after its royal sponsor, James I. Equally compelling is the story of the book's afterlife--its reception in the years, decades, and centuries that followed its first printing, and how it came to be so ubiquitous. This breathtaking panel exhibition focuses on the human side of this major cultural landmark and explores the book's social, cultural, literary, and religious influence over four centuries, from Pilgrim's Progress to Handel's Messiah to the Apollo 8 astronauts as they read from Genesis--in the King James Bible translation--while they orbited the Moon.

    UD Libraries is offering free public programming to complement the traveling exhibit. Please contact Katy Kelly,, if you have questions.

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    Opening Lecture and Reception

    08.30.2012 - 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

    Curator Hannibal Hamlin provided an opening lecture for the University of Dayton Manifold Greatness exhibit. Photo gallery coming soon.

    Lecture Series

    Various dates

    University of Dayton faculty members from the English and History departments will share their scholarly viewpoints on the influence of the King James Bible.

    Book Discussions

    Various dates

    Dr. Michael Carter (History) will lead discussions on In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, A Language, and A Culture by Allister McGrath. Dr. Thomas Morgan (English) will lead book discussions on Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Limited supplies of free books for those that RSVP for a book discussion are available.

    Closing Panel Discussion

    09.19.2012 - 6:30pm-7:30pm

    University of Dayton faculty members Dr. Michael Carter, Dr. Laura Hume, and Dr. Bill Trollinger will present a closing panel discussion on the last day of the Manifold Greatness exhibit.

    Manifold Greatness Website

    Want more? Visit the official Website for Manifold Greatness. The project is jointly produced by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, with assistance from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas Austin.

    Books about the King James Bible

    Check out the suggested reading list on the Manifold Greatness Website. Many of these titles are available at University of Dayton, Dayton Metro Library, or through OhioLINK. A shelf of these books and others can be found in our first floor gallery.

    King James Bible Trust

    The King James Bible Trust has been established to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The Website's aim is to celebrate its impact on history and on language throughout the English speaking world.