The Bible in England
and the Bible in English

Thursday 7 February, 7–8.30 pm

You are warmly invited to a public lecture about the powerful influence the Bible has exerted on the English language by Christopher Mulvey, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Winchester.

As part of fund-raising for Building for Life, St Paul’s Church has teamed up with the English Project and arranged a public lecture exploring the significance of the Bible in England and its shaping of the English language.

Globally two billion people use the English language. Many, maybe half of them, use English technically, to do business. But just as many are using English imaginatively, as a vehicle for every kind of thought. All users – technocrats and dreamers alike – have as an example the King James Bible as a measure of how far they must strive to reach the limits of this world language. By the start of this millennium, it had become a book loved as much for being a creation of linguistic beauty and an object of cultural meaning as it was for being a vehicle of the Christian message. Perhaps it is more loved today by lovers of the language and culture than it is by lovers of the message, because other vehicles of that message have been found.

In speaking about the Bible in English, Professor Mulvey will, for many people, be promising to talk about the Bible that King James ordered to be prepared in the English language for use in the Church of England. It appeared in 1611, and today it has become a world book as the English language has become a world language. But it will not do to say that the English Bible is the King James Bible, because the English Bible is something older and wider. The English Bible is truly all versions of the Bible in the English language, from the earliest translations in the eighth century through to the latest versions in the twenty-first.

Please book your ticket here (type in ‘Bible in England’), where you can read more about the talk. Tickets are £13.50, of which £12.11 will go towards Building for Life at St Paul’s; the rest is the Eventbrite fee. If you are a UK taxpayer and buy a ticket on the door, it will be possible to gift aid your entrance fee, so the church will receive £16.87. And we will be delighted to offer you a glass of wine as part of the evening.