UPDATED First Bodleian app features highlights from the King James Bible Exhibition

5 August 2011

app-launch-screen_web_v2The Bodleian Libraries have launched their first app, entitled ‘The Making of the King James Bible'. Created in conjunction with Toura, a leading solution for cloud-based mobile app development, the King James Bible app is available for purchase here

The app is being launched to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Bible’s publication and the Bodleian’s summer exhibition, Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible (until 4 September). 

Featuring over 60 items from the exhibition, the app brings together, for the first time, many of the books and documents that lay behind the King James Bible translation. It traces the history of the book, particularly the role of Oxford, and the influence of the translation in England up to 1769. It was in this year that the King James Bible was first revised - resulting in the 'Oxford Standard' version that the world knows today.

Highlights include:

  • concise commentary from the curators of the exhibition, written exclusively for the app
  • narration from Oxford's Diarmaid MacCulloch – prize-winning author and one of the world's leading authorities on the history of the Church
  • celebrations from the University of Oxford, including a King James Bible masterclass, guest lectures, and Evensong performed by the choir at Corpus Christi College

Explore a variety of items in high resolution, including:

  • the only surviving copy of the fourty 1602 Bishops’ Bibles distributed to the translators for their use, and annotated by themAnne Boleyn’s velvet-bound 1534 copy of William Tyndale’s English Translation of the New Testament (on loan from the British Library)
  • old English manuscripts, such as Aelfric's version of the Heptateuch, the MacRegol gospels, and one of the earliest surviving Wycliffite Bibles (the first full translation of the Bible into English)
  • a glimpse into the process of translation, with the original rules of translation (also from the British Library) and John Bois's notes from the general meeting (on public display for the first time)
  • a rare copy of the 'Wicked Bible' of 1631 (most were burned at the time), which was so named because of a famous misprint in the seventh commandment
  • Handel's conducting copy of the Messiah (1741-2), along with a ‘libretto’ (word book) that was sold for audience use during the Oxford debut of the Messiah in 1749

Richard Ovenden, Deputy Librarian, Bodleian Libraries, said: ‘A key aspect of the Bodleian cultural strategy is to share our renowned collections with the general public locally and internationally. The new technology is giving us the opportunity to reach out to people worldwide and we are pleased we can make our treasures available in this format as well. ’

The app series will enable the Bodleian Libraries to share their great collections in yet another format. The organization has a series of outreach programmes such as the publishing programme, three annual major exhibitions and monthly thematic displays, termly lectures, talks and seminars. 

The next app in the series will appear in the autumn and be a browsable collection of some of the Bodleian’s greatest treasures including the newly-acquired Jane Austen manuscript, Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Update: the app is no longer available (16 April 2014)
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