The University Record, November 19, 2001

Special Collections showcase bibles

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

The Special Collections Library exhibition, ‘From Papyri to King James: The Evolution of the English bible,’ includes (clockwise from far left) one leaf of the Gutenberg or 42 Line Bible, Mainz, Germany; a King James Bible, dated 1611; the earliest known copy of one letter of the Epistles of Paul; and the Book of Hours, mid-15th century. (Photo courtesy of University Library)
Bibles and other religious works dating back to the year 119, including the earliest known copy of the letters of St. Paul, will be part of an exhibition at the Special Collections Library beginning Nov. 27.

The exhibition, “From Papyri to King James: The Evolution of the English Bible,” includes materials written on papyrus, parchment and paper that led to the English translation of 1611 known as the King James Bible.

On display are a number of distinguished documents marking significant milestones in the history of the biblical text. These documents, spread across nations, peoples and languages, trace the development of the Bible from ancient manuscripts to early printed books.

Fragments on papyri from Deuteronomy and Matthew, portions from several of the letters of Paul and writings of early church leaders such as Melito, the Bishop of Sardis and Hermas of Rome are all shown. Also included are medieval versions of Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible of 404, first appearances in print of the Greek and Latin biblical texts, and early translations into English.

Many of the Bibles will be opened to the same passage, providing an opportunity to compare translations and to observe developments in languages, handwriting and type designs. The exhibit illustrates the development of the codex and presents a brief study of sixteenth-century English political history through the inclusion of the Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva, Douay, Great and Bishops’ Bibles. The free exhibition will be displayed in the Special Collections Library on the seventh floor of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Nov. 27, 2001–Feb. 2, 2002 (except for Dec. 22–Jan. 1, and Jan. 5, when the Library is closed). Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m Mon.–Fri. and 10 a.m.–noon Saturday. Guided tours are available for groups by appointment only. To arrange a tour call (734) 764-9377.