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September 14, 2011

Wheaton College to Host "Words of Delight: The King James Bible and the Bible as Literature" Conference

KJV Conference

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and to honor English professor Dr. Leland Ryken, the Departments of English and Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College will jointly sponsor a conference on campus this month.

The conference, titled “Words of Delight: The King James Bible and Bible as Literature,” takes place September 22-23.

This conference will bring together theologians, literary scholars, and historians to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible and to honor Leland Ryken, who has for many years taught and written on the Bible as literature.

The conference opens at 2 p.m. Thursday, September 22 with Wheaton College English Professor Dr. Leland Ryken, delivering a lecture titled "The King James Version and the Bible as Literature."

Dr. Leland Ryken has been a member of the English Department at Wheaton College for 44 years. His three dozen books have covered a broad range of topics, including the Bible as literature and issues in Bible translation. The conference title reflects these topical interests, as well as the titles of two of Ryken’s books: Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible (Baker, 1993) and The Legacy of the King James Bible (Crossway, 2011).

Dr. Jill Baumgaertner, Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies, says the conference is an appropriate way to honor Ryken during the final year of his teaching career.

“Dr. Leland Ryken has in his 44 years in the English Department achieved an international reputation for his scholarship, which ranges from work on Milton to books on the Bible as literature to contributions on translation teams for scripture to apologies for the importance of literature and other arts in the life of faith,” Baumgaertner says. “He exemplifies the best of the integration of faith and learning in all that he does, including his work as a teacher, where he is known for his energetic classroom demeanor, his helpful handbooks, his sense of humor, and his ability to connect with a wide variety of students.”

All sessions are in Coray Gym, located at 421 North Chase Street in Wheaton.

Thursday lectures include:

"Sacred Songs, Slovenly Hexameters: The Bible in English Romantic Literature"
By Jeffrey Barbeau, Associate Professor of Theology in the Wheaton College Graduate School. 3:45 p.m.

"The King James Bible: The Making of a Classic Translation"
By Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King's College London. 7:30 p.m.

This lecture will be followed by an informal gathering time with refreshments.

Friday lectures include:

"Scripture in the Studium and the Rise of the Humanities"
by David Jeffrey, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities at Baylor University. 9:15 a.m.

"'Isn't This the Book of the People?' The King James Version in America"
by Mark Noll, emeritus faculty member of the Wheaton College History Department and the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. 11:30 a.m.

"Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the King James Bible"
by A. E. Elmore, Professor of English at Athens State University. 2:00 p.m.

"Words out of the Whirlwind: The Book of Job Orally Interpreted"
by Craig Mattson, chair of the Communication Arts Department at Trinity Christian College. 3:45 p.m.

"The Unmistakable Voice of the King James Version"
by David Jeffrey, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities at Baylor University. 7:30 p.m.

This lecture will be followed by an informal gathering time with refreshments.

A banquet, which requires registration and prepayment, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday evening in the South Party Room, located in Anderson Commons, 421 N. Chase Street. For more information, or to register for all or part of the conference, visit wheaton.edu/theology.

In conjunction with the conference, the College will display an exhibit of rare Bibles from the Green Collection. The Green Collection is one of the largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts in the world. Fifty items from the collection of 30,000 biblical antiquities will be displayed, including early Bibles printed in English.

The exhibit, assembled in support of the conference and in honor of Dr. Leland Ryken, will be on display in the Buswell Memorial Library Reading Room on Thursday, September 22 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and on Friday, September 23 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Buswell Memorial Library is located at 510 North Irving Avenue in Wheaton.