Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Copying the Whole KJV

The Wall Street Journal reports the story of a man who, though in poor health, is hand-copying the entire King James Bible. He has completed about three-quarters of the text and hopes to finish in 2012.
Intellectual curiosity, rather than religious fervor, led Patterson to the project. The idea came out of a conversation with his partner of 20 years, who died of a liver disorder in February 2010. A Muslim who owned a collection of handwritten Korans, he suggested that Patterson transcribe the Bible. The concept instantly appealed.
But he plans to donate the finished set of volumes to his church in Spencertown, New York. And a local artist has created a photographic journal and blog about his work.

The article cites an expert in Christian history on the rarity of such practices, citing the lack of a devotional manuscript tradition in modern Christianity. But I suspect that the practice is more common than we suspect, but poorly documented. Aside from well-publicized efforts like the calligraphed and illuminated St. Johns Bible using the NRSV text, the Missouri Springfield Journal reported in 2007 about a man who spent 40 years copying the KJV.

(One benefit of a blog like this is the ability to document such phenomena to get a better idea of how rare or common they are. If anyone has heard of other examples of modern Christians hand copying the BIble, please let us know!)

1 comment:

Matt said...

My 9 year old son has a copy book. Its nothing facy, just a spiral bound notebook. He copies one Psalm per day into it. He's taking about copying one of the Gospels after he finishes the Psalms.