In 1604 a committee of 54 scholars was convened by King James of England to work on a new English translation of the Bible.
Out of their labors came the King James Bible, a book so revered and influential that the great English historian Thomas Barington Macaulay wrote: "If everything else in our language should perish, it alone would suffice to show the extent of its beauty and power."
Religious scholar Wilburn Stancil discusses this great book in a program titled From Ancient Text to Literary Masterpiece on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
His presentation is in conjunction with the Library's new exhibit Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible, on display at the Central Library from July 11 through August 10, 2012.
The exhibit - featuring reproductions of historic books, manuscripts, and works of art - tells the story of the King James Bible's origins, creation, and impact, including its influence on English and American literature, and its multifaceted effects on culture and society to the present day. It's a monumental tale of a book's social, cultural, literary, and religious influence over four centuries.
The King James Version would shape English literature and speech for centuries. Four hundred years later its common expressions -- "labor of love," "a thorn in the flesh," "the root of all evil," "the fat of the land," "the sweat of thy brow," "to cast pearls before swine," and "the shadow of death" -- are heard in everyday speech.
Stancil is a professor of theology and religious studies at Rockhurst University. He is the author of A Student's Guide to the Liberal Arts, Religious Arguments in the Public Square, The Baptist Reformation, and Catholicism at the Millennium.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.