Commemorations of KJB and BCP
“Hearing his Most Holy Word”
The years 2011 and 2012 mark the special celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the ‘mother’ prayer book which travelled throughout the world for centuries and was a conduit for making familiar major portions of the New Testament in the King James translation. It is also the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Book of Common Prayer, the only post World War II prayer book which belongs explicitly to this Anglican tradition of Common Prayer. While of particular note to Anglicans and Anglican institutions, these anniversary commemorations speak to the larger and global world of the English language which extends beyond England’s “sceptred isle” and even beyond the complexities and complaints of the ventures of colonialism as well. Both works have played a role in the shaping of different forms of expression in English and continue to have a great influence.
n the Chapel at King’s-Edgehill School, a window dedicated to the Wainwright family depicts Thomas Cranmer, the architect of the Book of Common Prayer, while the King James Bible stands on the Lectern and is used along with Revised Versions for the reading of Scripture at Chapel.
In keeping with the nature of an academic institution, and one with Anglican connections, the Chaplain has contributed to these commemorations, presenting a paper on William Tyndale and the King James Bible: A Good Translation Made Better at a Colloquium on the King James Bible held at the School’s sister institution, the University of King’s College, Halifax, this past year. Other participants included George Cooper, who is now President of the College, and Professor Stephen Snobelen, a noted expert on Isaac Newton’s Scriptural interests. Tyndale’s translations of the Scriptures contributed greatly to the memorable phrases and words of the King James Bible. To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer, a book entitled The Book of Common Prayer: Past, Present and Futurehas been published in England which includes an essay, “Something Understood,” dealing with the language of the Book of Common Prayer, by (Rev’d) David Curry. Other contributors include the celebrated British detective fiction novelist, Dame P.D. James.