DUBAI: A first edition of the King James Bible, published in 1611, is set to go on show at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) after the rare text was received on loan from a private Saudi collector.
The leather-bound edition of the Christian text was published by Robert Barker, a printer to King James I of England, in the 17th century and is known as the “He” Bible due to a printing error on one of the pages in which the phrase “and he went into the citie” is written, instead of the correct “she went.”
Experts say that this tiny error makes the copy more valuable due to its rarity, while the book is also notable for its decorative binding and use of calf leather with brass plates and clasps.
The copy of the Bible will go on show at KFCRIS in early 2020 alongside a collection of printed copies of the Qur’an in an exhibition that will explore how early printing technology impacted religious studies.
The King James Version of the Bible was commissioned by King James I in 1604, only a year after his accession to the throne. It was the first officially sanctioned translation of the Bible from Latin into common English, which caused controversy at the time.
Fast forward four centuries later and the text has become the standard Bible that unifies the English-speaking church — it was revised once in 1769 and has remained largely unchanged since then.
Early editions, such as the one on loan to the KFCRIS, also contain maps, genealogies and tables of psalms that no longer exist in modern editions.
This translation of the Bible inspired countless works of art and poetry by famous figures such as the composer George Frideric Handel, author Ernest Hemingway and trailblazing political figures like Martin Luther King Jr.