Highlighting Rare Books: Bible from 1611 on Display

One of the most influential books in the English language is the King James, or Authorized, Version of the Bible. This version of the Bible came about as a result of the Hampton Court, held in 1603 by King James I of England. Over the course of three and a half years, 47 individuals split among three committees worked on revising existing English translations of the Bible rather than creating an entirely new translation. The finished product, first printed in 1611, became the Authorized Version of the Bible, though today it is commonly known as the King James Version. This version, which made a conscious effort to stay faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek, became the definitive English translation of the Bible for over 200 years.

Two editions of the Authorized Version of the Bible were printed: the “He” Bible and the “She” Bible. The difference between these two Bibles lies in Ruth 3:15, where the “He” edition says, “and he went into the citie” while the “She” edition says, “and she went into the citie.”

Van Wylen Library came to own a 1611 “She” edition of the King James Bible when it was given as a gift by Everett T. Welmers (’32), the initiator of Hope College’s Rare Book Collection. This edition of the Bible, currently on display to the right of the staircase on the first floor of the library, features a particularly interesting misprint in Matthew 26:36, which reads, “Then cameth Judas with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, sit yee here, while I goe and pray yonder.” The Bible is open to this page in the display, so be sure to stop by and see it.

— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger

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