Gordon Campbell and David Crystal discuss the King James Bible

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Nov 12, 2010
from 06:00 PM to 07:00 PM


New Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building South Wing

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0116 252 2320

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2011 is the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. This event brings together the authors of two newly published studies of the history and language of the world’s greatest book.

Gordon Campbell tells in Bible: the story of the King James Version 1611-2011 the fascinating and complex story of how this translation came to be commissioned, of who the translators were, and of how the translation was accomplished. The story does not end with the printing of that first edition, but introduces the subsequent generations who edited and interacted with the text.

The King James Bible “has contributed far more to English in the way of idiomatic or quasi-proverbial expressions than any other literary source.” So wrote David Crystal in 2004. In Begat; the King James Bible and the English Language he returns to the subject not only to consider how a work published in 1611 could have had such influence on the language, but how it can still do so when few regularly hear the Bible and fewer still hear it in the language of Stuart England.

No other version of the Bible however popular (such as the Good News Bible) or imposed upon the Church (like the New English Bible) has had anything like the same influence. David Crystal shows how its words and phrases have over the centuries found independent life in the work of poets, playwrights, novelists, politicians, and journalists, and how more recently they have been taken up with enthusiasm by advertisers, Hollywood, and hip-hop.

Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester. His recent work on Milton, all for Oxford University Press, includes a collaborative monograph on the Miltonic De Doctrina Christiana manuscript (2007) and a new scholarly biography of Milton (2008); both volumes have won the Hanford Prize for the best monograph of the year.

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. His bestselling books include The Stories of English, The Fight for English, and his autobiography Just a Phrase I’m Going Through: My Life in Language.

  • This is a ticketed event. For free tickets, please contact Embrace Arts (see box top right).
  • Followed by a book signing.
  • Drinks and light refreshments will be available for purchase during the interval before the second event of the evening.


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To request free tickets, or book tickets for Germaine Greer, please contact the Embrace Arts box office on 0116 252 2455 or call in person at Embrace Arts, Richard Attenborough Centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7HA.

Box office opening times
Monday to Friday
10.00am to 6.00pm


For further information please contact Pritty Wadhia on 0116 252 2320, pw108@le.ac.uk

For tickets, contact Embrace Arts (see above)

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The Fielding Johnson Building South Wing is fully accessible for disabled visitors. Limited parking is available on campus and at the satellite car park on Welford Road. Visitors are advised to use public transport.

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