The Bible and the People


September 4 through January 5, 2005

Huntington Library, San Marino

Curator:  Prof. Lori Anne Ferrell

The Bible has taken on many roles over two millennia: spiritual guide, historical document, cultural artifact, literary inspiration. It has transformed, and been transformed by, the cultures of the Common Era, from the early centuries down to the 21st. One aspect of the Bible’s character, however, remains constant: it has always been a book designed for use. Priests and scholars, monarchs, laypeople, poets, artists, and playwrights have all mined its resources.

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Yet, while intended for practical use, the Bible has not always been user-friendly. The transformation of a complex religious text to an accessible book is traced in an exhibition of more than 130 Bibles drawn from The Huntington’s rare book and manuscript collections. “The Bible and the People” explores the ways the Bible was adapted to the needs of a variety of readers from the Middle Ages to the present day. Included in the exhibition will be beautifully illuminated medieval manuscript Bibles; the Huntington’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed with moveable type; the first editions of major English translations; the earliest Bibles printed in America, including the first translation into a Native American language; the sixty-volume “Kitto Bible,” embellished with more than thirty thousand prints and drawings based upon Biblical themes; and reproductions of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Boone Gallery

FMI, visit the Huntington Library Bible Exhibit Website

Return to Prof. Ferrell's Faculty Bio

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