The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611-2011: a conference of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion

Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion is hosting a major conference April 7-9, 2011, The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611-2011. Confirmed speakers include: Robert Alter (University of California, Berkeley), David Bebbington (University of Stirling), Philip Jenkins (Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion), Laura Knoppers (Penn State University), Alister E. McGrath (Kings College, London), Mark Noll (University of Notre Dame), Lamin Sanneh (Yale University), N.T. Wright (University of St. Andrews). There is a call for papers, if you are interested in submitting a proposal.

The ISR page for the conference reads:

The year 2011 marks the four hundredth anniversary of one of the landmark events in the history of Christianity: the publication of the King James Bible.

In 1611, England issued its official translation of the complete Bible, a masterful work that laid the foundation for an emerging Christian culture in the English-speaking world. At the time, it was not obvious that the new translation would have the impact that it did, but it was soon clear that the King James Bible would overcome its competitors, as it provided a magnificent new standard by which all later works would be judged. It would indelibly mark the literature and culture of England, America, and all regions across the globe touched by Britain’s empire. From small rural churches to great halls of power, the ideas and words of the King James Version helped form a new culture rooted in the Bible: the modern culture of the English-speaking world.

To celebrate and reflect upon the incomparable influence of the King James Bible, Baylor University will host “The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611-2011,” on April 7-9, 2011. Organized by Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, this conference will be one of the preeminent international events recognizing this auspicious moment in the history of Anglo-American and world Christianity. It will assemble distinguished scholars from around the globe to consider the history and ramifications of the Bible in English.

Major conference themes will include the way that the King James Bible created a common literary and religious culture in the English-speaking world; the significance of vernacular translation for Christian growth and development; and the challenges posed by recent declines in biblical literacy and the end of the King James’s dominance as the Bible translation for English-speaking Christians.

I am proud to say that I serve as a resident scholar in the Institute for Studies of Religion.

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  • davidsanford

    Thanks! Two big surprises tied into the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Version Bible:

    1. Two scholars and an international team of researchers have compiled the first worldwide census of extant copies of the original first printing of the 1611 King James Version (sometimes referred to as the “He” Bible). For decades, authorities from the British Museum, et al., have estimated that “around 50 copies” of that first printing still exist. The real number is quite different.

    2. As well, one of the two scholars has discovered the exact price at which the first KJV Bibles were sold back in 1611. That price has eluded experts for generations. The finding was quite a surprise.

    For more information, you’re invited to contact Donald L. Brake, Sr., PhD, at or his associate David Sanford at

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