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He Bibles and She Bibles

This Wednesday and Thursday the library will host a symposium to celebrate 400 years of the King James Bible. Then, next August the library will install a large exhibit of materials related to the King James Bible in our exhibit space on level 1. As a teaser for the large exhibit curator Maggie Kopp has pulled out some significant bibles to display during the symposium. She has a 1613 printing of the King James Bible on display along with later editions owned by the Smith family.

We know our copy of the King James Bible is from 1613 because in copies from the first printing in 1611 the verse Ruth 3:15 reads “he went” while the 1613 version was re-typeset and corrected to read “she went.” Today the different versions are know as the “He Bible” and the “She Bible.” If you look closely you will see the line looks like…”and fhe went to the citie.”

In some older books the “s” looked a lot like a lower case “f” but the “s” would only have the horizontal line on the left side, or in this case it is hardly there at all.

The library does not have the bible the Joseph Smith studied, but we have a copy of the same edition.