Bagster’s Bibles: for Norwich and the world

Last weekend, I happened upon a melancholy Twitter thread that captured the closing of a two-hundred-year-old church in Norwich: Princes Street United Reformed Church. The author, Jay Hulme (@JayHulmePoet), had gone to photograph the building as a record for posterity, a day before the pews and fittings were due to be stripped out. (You can read and see Jay’s account here.)

One of the outcomes of this visit is that a small collection of books, mostly bibles, found piled on a windowsill has now gone to the Norfolk Heritage Centre for safe-keeping. Looking carefully, with input from friends and the local church minister, Jay had identified several books belonging to the Colman family—famed for their mustard. One of these was a copy of Samuel Bagster’s “English Version of the Polyglot Bible”, heavily annotated by its owner—Ethel Mary Colman Continue reading Bagster’s Bibles: for Norwich and the world

In debt to sundry sources

European borrowings in 16th & 17th century English translations of ‘the Book of Books’

Paper to be delivered at the Meeting of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publication (SHARP) in Paris, 18-22 July 2016.
The conference theme is “Languages of the Book / Les Langues du Livre”.

A French translation of this abstract is appended.

ABSTRACT
Five years have elapsed since the quatercentenary of King James’ Bible, 481 since the editio princeps of the English bible, a translation assembled “out of five sundry interpreters” by Miles Coverdale. In the years between Continue reading In debt to sundry sources

Early modern pin-up girls

Lessons learned from the Bible’s “virtuous women”

Presented to the Society for Reformation Studies, Westminster College, Cambridge, 5-7 April 2016. (Abstract slightly amended.) The conference theme was “The Bible in the Reformation”.

Seek a virtuous woman in Coverdale’s 1535 Bible and you will find only Ruth. By 1611, the only “virtuous” people in the English Bible are women. Continue reading Early modern pin-up girls

On biblical literacy

In the run up to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible translation, I facilitated a conference at the University of Sheffield exploring how shifts in biblical literacy affect teaching in a range of academic subjects. The three-day conference brought together professional educationalists from school and university contexts, to improve our understanding of issues posed by biblical illiteracy and share different ways in which the Bible could be encountered productively in the classroom.

Delegates heard results from a comparative study of texts in religious education undertaken Continue reading On biblical literacy

Telling Tales

Above: The Telling Tales of King James’ Bible exhibition at Lichfield Cathedral (photo courtesy of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield).

In 2011, the Telling Tales of King James’ Bible exhibition appeared in churches and cathedrals around the UK Continue reading Telling Tales