Honouring a book that changed the world

2011-08-18 00:00

FOUR hundred years ago, a resolution taken at a conference hosted by King James I of England and VI of Scotland, at Hampton Court Palace near London, gave ordinary men and women the chance to read the Bible in English for the first time.

Delegates agreed to translate the Bible into English, with the approval of all ­religious groups.

The result was the King James Version (also known as the ­Authorised Version), which was first published in 1611, and became the definitive Bible of the ­English-speaking world for the next 200 years.

An average of 600 000 copies of the King James Version are distributed by ­Bible Societies around the world annually, including some 33 000 copies in South Africa in 2010. A further 38 000 were downloaded to cellphones free of charge last year.

Today, the Bible is available in 469 ­languages, including Tswana, Xhosa, Southern Sotho, Zulu, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Afrikaans, Swati and Venda.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, the Bible Society of South Africa is ­hosting two Songs of Praise concerts in ­Durban and Pietermaritzburg this weekend.

The concert in Durban will feature a massed choir made up of members of the Pietermaritzburg Amateur Music ­Society (Pams), the Durban Chamber Choir, the Durban Girls’ College Choir, the ­KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir, the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ Choir, The Highwaymen, and members of many church and community choirs from both ­Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

In Pietermaritzburg, the choirs will ­include members of the Pietermaritzburg Amateur Music Society (Pams) choir, the Durban church and community choirs, and the Durban Girls’ College Choir.

Conducted by well-known maestro, Richard Cock, the singers will be accompanied by Christopher ­Cockburn on the organ, Donald Bouwer, Michael Magner and Alex Urban on trumpets, and Berwyn Roberts, Nathan Thomas and Alex Hitzeroth on trombones.

The programme includes the hymns How great thou art, The Lord’s Prayer, Haydn’s The heavens are telling, ­Ukuthula, The Lord’s my Shepherd and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

The Songs of Praise concerts will take place at the Durban Christian Centre’s Jesus Dome tomorrow at 7 pm, and at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity at 169 Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street, at 7 pm on Saturday.

Admission to both concerts is free, but a free-will offering will be taken. Tickets for the Durban event can be bought at the Durban Bible House (phone Letitia at 031 207 4933), and for the Pietermaritzburg event, they can be bought at the Cathedral office (phone Mable at 033 394 1567).

Safe parking is available at the parkade opposite the Cathedral in Pietermaritzburg, and also in the Methodist Church car park off Chapel Street.

• For more information on the concerts, log on to www.biblesociety. co.za

THE King James Bible has had an enormous influence on the development of the English language. Among the many phrases from the Bible which are in common use ­today are:

• A fly in the ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

• A labour of love (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

• A leopard cannot change its spots ­(Jeremiah 13:23).

• A man after his own heart ­(1 Samuel 13:14).

• A thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7)

• A wolf in sheep’s clothing ­(Matthew 7:15).

• Ashes to ashes, dust to dust (Genesis 3:19).

• Cast not your pearls before swine ­(Matthew 7:6).

• How are the mighty fallen (2 Samuel 1:19)

• The salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).


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