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This 2011-12 academic year marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.
Published in 1611, this book has had a profound impact on today’s English-speaking society. It also has a symbolic status which goes beyond its purpose as a religious text.
The story of the King James Bible can help children – of all faiths and none – better understand its place in our nation’s identity and history, and appreciate its influence on our language, literature, democracy and culture.
As many people have noted – from writer and broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg to the director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor – the King James Bible continues to shape our culture today.
To mark this special anniversary, the Department for Education sent an authentic copy of the 1611 version of the King James Bible to every state-funded primary and secondary school in England. Our intention was to create a lasting legacy of the anniversary and to stimulate discussion and learning across the curriculum.
We hope teachers and pupils will be inspired to explore how this book has influenced our nation’s history, language and culture over the past four centuries.
Celebrations of the 400th anniversary have generated a range of teaching resources which may be of interest to schools. Links to some of these resources can be found on the TES website.
Examples of how schools have already engaged pupils and students in learning about the King James Bible are available on this page.
21,300 copies of the King James Bible were printed for use in schools from May 2012. The total cost of the project was £374,000. This includes £367,960 on printing and distribution. £6040 will be given to the Bible Society to make learning resources available to schools so they can continue to support education about the cultural significance of the book in the future. The costs were met in full by charitable donations amounting to £374,000.
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The King James Bible: How it changed the way we speak.
Oxford scholar and author Richard Dawkins explains what the King James Bible means to the country.
Today presenter James Naughtie tells the story of the King James Bible and its literary legacy.
The impact of the King James Bible on our country’s language is explored in this symposium held by Gresham College.
In this BBC 2 documentary, Melvyn Bragg explains how the King James Bible has driven the making of the English-speaking world over the past 400 years.
In this BBC documentary, author Adam Nicholson tells the story of the 'greatest work of English prose ever written':
Linguist Professor David Crystal talks about the impact of the King James Bible on idioms of the English language and Lord Bragg discusses its place in our country’s cultural, intellectual and social history.
A BBC Politics UK special looks at the importance of the King James Bible.
Rev Coles talks about the influence that the King James Bible has had on music.