King James Bible

Prompted by a Puritanpetition, King James I of England asked 54 scholars to take existing English translations of the Bible and make, as the translators expressed in their preface, “out of many good ones, one principal good one.” Seven years later the first edition of the King James Bible was published, and its inestimable influence on religion and language began to spread across the globe.

A number of typographical errors—including one in Ruth 3:15, where “he went” was used instead of “she went”—prompted a complete resetting of the type, and the first edition, second issue, or “She Bible,” was printed two years later. The BYU library’s copy of that 1613 Bible—with title pages from the 1611 printing—anchors The Life and Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years, an exhibit in L. Tom Perry Special Collections that runs until June 2012.

The three-part BYUtv series, Fires of Faith, also celebrates the origins of the King James Bible and can be watched online at byutv.org. | Photography by Bradley H. Slade (BFA ’94)