Rare King James Bible to be Displayed in Saudi Arabia

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A rare first edition of the King James Bible is set to be displayed in an exhibit at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Published in 1611, the King James Bible also called the Authorized Version, is the most famous bible translation in the world. It was translated specifically for the Church of England, reports The Jerusalem Post.

This Bible in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the ‘He Bibles’ of the King James Bible, is indeed rare: there are thought to be only about 200 of them. —Yale University Prof. Bruce Gordon

Mistranslations in the Bible led James VI and I to sponsor the authorized translation of the Scripture. The King James Version is one of the most read English books in the world.

The edition to be showcased in the center contains the famous mistranslation in the Book of Ruth. In Ruth 3:15, it says “He went into the city”— referring to Boaz, instead of the correct pronoun “She” to refer to the main character, Ruth.

Some Hebrew words were written in one way and read in another way, making it difficult for the early translators to come up with the correct translation. In this instance, the written Hebrew text is “vayavo” (meaning “and he went”) while the spoken term is “vatavo” (meaning “and she went”).

According to The Bible at Beinecke, the “King James Bibles from 1611 and 1613 are named as either ‘He Bibles’ or ‘She Bibles’ because of the misprint.”

“This Bible in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the ‘He Bibles’ of the King James Bible, is indeed rare: there are thought to be only about 200 of them,” said Yale University Prof. Bruce Gordon.

A private collector loaned the Bible to the center. It is a well-preserved Bible bound in calf leather with brass plates and clasps. It will go on display next year with several early printed copies of the Qur’an to show how ancient printing technologies affected religious studies.

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