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Posted: May 2, 2013 6:36 p.m.

In the Beginning...

Rockdale County will have an opportunity to celebrate the King James Bible, a bestseller for more than 400 years, during a six-week exhibit at Nancy Guinn Library beginning May 29.

"Manifold Greatness: The Creation of the Afterlife of the King James Bible" exhibit will be on display at the Nancy Guinn Library for six weeks beginning May 29.

Manifold Greatness celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible in 1611 and examines the Bible’s fascinating and complex history.

Making its final and 40th stop in Conyers, the traveling exhibit consists of high-quality reproductions of rare and historic books, manuscripts and works of art combined with interpretive text and related images.

During the exhibit, the library is also sponsoring free programs including speakers, films and displays of personal Bibles.

"There is a lot of interest in this exhibit," Nancy Guinn Library director Daryl Fletcher said this week. "A lot of people are interested in the story, which is a story about how the English Bible came to be, it’s influence on literature, culture, the arts, even in phrases people use every day. Our hope is that no matter who you are, you come here and enjoy the exhibit and find that you got something out of it."

The title "Manifold Greatness" refers to the multifaceted or "manifold" influence of this landmark book, and is taken from the Bible’s dedication to King James in 1611, which begins "Great and Manifold were the blessings" when God made James the King of England.

Translated over several years by six different committees of England’s top scholars, the King James Bible is one of the most widely read books in the world and is the most influential English translation of the Bible.

Exhibit organizers are searching for old Bibles from community members to be on locked display during the exhibit.

One bible already loaned is dated 1853 and belonged to Irene Irwin, who was a member of the Conyers Civic League that led the effort to open the first library in Rockdale County in 1919.

Community members can also bring their old family Bibles for a free consultation by Ken Jewell, of the National Library Bindery, on June 12.

"We have had exhibits here before but this is the first time we have hosted something on a national scale, and hopefully it’s the first of many to come," said Delores Baker, exhibit chair. "I had a vision of hundreds of people coming, and we have been trying to spread the word throughout the state. It will not only benefit the City of Conyers, Rockdale County and the state of Georgia, but it will hopefully bring national exposure to our library."

Made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the exhibition was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. in conjunction with the American Library Association of Public Programs Office.

After traveling across 27 states before stopping in Conyers, the exhibit will retire to Washington to be used for teaching purposes.

The local portion of the grant, which was $2,500, was awarded following a joint effort between Rockdale County and Nancy Guinn Library and grant covers speakers, publicity and advertising for the six-week exhibit.

Viewing hours will be the same as regular library hours, which are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

All programs will be held in the meeting room located on the ground floor of the library.

More information on the "Manifold Greatness" exhibit, including a family guide and historical biography of the Bible, can be located at manifoldgreatness.org.

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