JACKSON, Tenn. – June 1, 2011– For 400 years, the King James Version of the Bible has exercised an enormous religious, literary and cultural influence in the English-speaking world.
“No publication in the last 400 years has been as widely bought, read, cited or memorized,” said James Patterson, university professor of Christian thought and tradition at Union University. “Protestant history in both Great Britain and the United States has been profoundly shaped by this monumental translation.”
To celebrate the enduring legacy of the King James Version, Union University will hold a special festival, “KJV400: Legacy and Impact,” Sept. 15-17 with three guest speakers and a variety of interdisciplinary presentations and activities.
“This is really a major milestone in the history of western civilization and the history of Christianity,” said Ray Van Neste, associate professor of biblical studies and director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, which is sponsoring the festival. Van Neste said two main forces were responsible for shaping the English language: William Shakespeare and the King James Bible.
“Here’s a time in history when the church shaped the culture instead of following the culture,” Van Neste said. “We talk about the integration of faith and learning. The production of the King James Bible is a great expression of this integration, and the anniversary provides us an opportunity to once again demonstrate this integration by examining the impact of the KJV in various aspects of life.”
Scheduled guest speakers for the festival are Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University; Leland Ryken, English professor at Wheaton College and author of “The Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation”; and John Woodbridge, research professor of church history and the history of Christian thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
In addition to the plenary addresses, the festival will feature:
Early bird registration is $85 before Aug. 16. More information about the festival and online registration are available at www.uu.edu/events/kjvlegacy.