The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Bridwell showcases rare collection of English Bibles

SMU’s Bridwell Library is currently showing “TheBible In English: Before and After the Hampton Court Conference,1604.” The exhibit marks the 400th anniversary of the HamptonCourt Conference that prompted the translation of the Bible intoEnglish. The final result was the King James Bible.

“This exhibit is about the history of the EnglishBible,” said Valerie Hotchkiss, director of the BridwellLibrary and professor of medieval studies.

Today’s English Bible is based off the King James Bible.People may not know some of what the exhibit presents, but afterviewing it, they might gain a greater sense of appreciation for theworks.

“People might not know that at one time the English Biblewas outlawed,” Hotchkiss said.

The Bridwell Library will not hold the only showing of theexhibit. Princeton University and the University of Manchester willalso participate in this new version of a traveling exhibit.

“Each of the universities owns its own show collection soit isn’t really a traveling exhibit,” said Hotchkiss ofthe traveling premise of the exhibit. “This is a lot easierthan shipping a bunch of Bibles.”

This means that Bridwell Library owns the Bibles on display withthe exception of a few that are on loan from Indiana and PrincetonUniversities and from one of the exhibit’s curators.

The library has a large endowment and has received severalgifts, including one from the Elizabeth Perkins ProthroOrganization.

“These are great Bibles,” Hotchkiss said about theBibles on display, which range from the Wycliffite Bible of theearly 15th century to the first edition of the King JamesBible.

Every major translation of the English Bible will be on exhibit,a feat that few collections can accomplish. The first edition ofthe Pentateuch by William Tyndale, the first person to translatethe Bible into English from Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, is one ofthe most rare pieces on display -— there are only nine knowncopies.

The curators of the exhibit also wrote a book that addresses thesame subject matter of the exhibit. David Price, associateprofessor of history at SMU, and Charles C. Ryie, professor ofTheology, Emeritus at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote Let ItGo Among Our People: An Illustrated History of the EnglishBible from John Wyclif to the King James Bible to provide a newand comprehensive study of the history of the English Bible.

“People should come to experience their cultural heritage,[especially] if they speak English, and to see some of the rarestand most important manuscripts,” said Hotchkiss.

The exhibit runs through April 16 in the Elizabeth PerkinsProthro Galleries at the Bridwell Library. The exhibit is free tothe public and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday throughFriday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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