Four hundred years ago, a book was published that would be read for centuries by countless generations and that still remains of central importance to the English-speaking world. The King James Bible is one of the most influential books of all time, not just as a devotional work but as a narrative of great power, drama and poetry. This Folio Society edition is published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of its original publication. Limited to just 1,000 numbered copies, it is a beautiful and lasting edition of one of the most important books in history.
One of the first acts of King James I when he ascended the throne of England in 1603 was to commission a new translation of the Bible. The previous two centuries had seen the controversial arrival of the first ever English translations, and competing versions abounded. As head of the Church, James laid down the guiding principles of his new Bible, and forty-seven scholars from all over the country including Oxford, Cambridge and Winchester were assembled for the most ambitious translation project of the Reformation era.
The scholars aimed above all to be faithful to the original Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, translating literally where necessary. Though they were not aiming for poetic effect, their approach gave rise to some of the Bible’s most memorable and beautiful idioms: ‘labour of love’, ‘sign of the times’, ‘bite the dust’, ‘land of milk and honey’, ‘fly in the ointment’, and many others. The King James Bible became part of the public and private devotion of ordinary people and its phrases were absorbed into the English language. Also known as the Authorised Version, it is the touchstone by which all other translations are judged, and remains the Bible of choice for millions all over the world.
*Originally limited to 1,000 copies, however, 60 sets of sheets from this edition are being used to create the limited edition Diamond Jubilee Bible, bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
Delivery of limited editions may take longer than standard editions. Please contact us for more information.
Over the centuries, different versions of the King James Bible have appeared, containing changes and corrections. This Folio Society edition follows the Cambridge University Press text edited by David Norton, who has worked to restore the original 1611 Bible. In his editor’s introduction, reproduced in this edition, Norton describes his decade-long labour as resembling ‘the cleaning of an old master’. The typography is simple and elegant, with single columns and paragraphs for ease of reading. The text is set in Swift, a clear modern font. Following a centuries-old tradition of fine Bible printing, the headings have been picked out in red.
This two-volume edition is bound in full goatskin leather, blocked with calligraphy by Stephen Raw. With gilded page edges, double ribbon markers and presented in a wooden slipcase lined with moiré silk, this is an edition to be read and handed down for generations.
Review by bcapstick on 17th Feb 2013
"The Holy Bible is perhaps the most compelling and comprehensive vision of the human condition ever to have appeared in print and, for many readers, the King James 1st edition is the most eloquent of a..." [read more]