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The King James Bible

The King James Bible is widely regarded as central to the development of the English language around the world. We have developed a series of lesson plans to commemorate its 400th anniversary in 2011. You can also watch highlights of related events below.

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Hatfield House

Amidst the elegant seventeenth century splendour of Hatfield House is a book. Four hundred years old in 2011, it is one of the originally printed editions of the King James Bible.

Lecture by Adam Nicolson

Adam Nicolson's lecture examines the political and religious contexts in which the King James Bible was written and disseminated.

English-Speaking Union Lecture: Professor David Crystal

In the elegant surroundings of the English-Speaking Union, Professor David Crystal delivered a fascinating lecture about the relationship between the King James Bible and the ways in which aspects of the English language have evolved over the 400 years since 1611.

English-Speaking Union Lecture: Introduction

Mark Robson, Director English at the British Council, introduces Professor David Crystal's lecture at the English-Speaking Union.

Lord Bragg's introduction to the Quattro Centenary lecture

With his new work 'The Book of Books' recently published, Lord Bragg offers an insight into some of the compelling qualities that have made the King James Bible a moral and social force.

Lord Salisbury's introduction to the Quattro Centenary lecture

Lord Salisbury, a Trustee of the King James Bible Trust, reflects on the resonance of the King James Bible globally.

The Quattro Centenary lecture

Presented in The Great Hall at Hampton Court, Lord Bragg’s lecture delineates some of the key themes related to the King James Bible’s 'impact alongside the faith'.

David Crystal's King James Bible lecture: Idioms

This task features a 10-minute extract from a lecture by David Crystal on the King James Bible, and provides practice at guided listening to an academic lecture.

David Crystal's King James Bible lecture: What's included?

This task features a 10-minute extract from a lecture by David Crystal on the King James Bible, and provides practice at guided listening to an academic lecture.

David Crystal's King James Bible lecture: Word play

This task examines ways in which well-known phrases from the King James Bible have been adapted by journalists and other skilled users of the English language.

How does language spread?

This plan is part of a series of lesson plans commissioned in 2011 to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, which many claim had a major impact on the development of English.

Then and now

This plan is part of a series of lesson plans commissioned in 2011 to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, which many claim had a major impact on the development of English.

Archbishop Matthew Parker

Parker compiled the Bishop’s Bible (1568) which was an attempt to combine Protestant and Catholic versions and approaches to the writing of a Bible.

King Henry VIII

In 1539 Henry VIII approved the Great Bible but by the time of his death in 1547 he had forbidden people from any social class lower than that of merchant from reading it.

William Tyndale

Tyndale considered the Catholic Bible that had been published in the early 1500s as being inappropriate and so he set about rewriting the Old and New Testament books.