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1613 “He” Bible exhibit opening November 10, 2023

October 30, 2023

OBU, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commission and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, will be hosting a reception in celebration of the restoration and exhibition of a 1613 copy of the King James Bible. This will take place from 2 p.m.–4 p.m., Nov.10, 2023 at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.

Shields Boulevard Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, recently donated the Bible to the J.M. and Helen Gaskin Baptist Historical Library and Archives at Oklahoma Baptist University. The Bible has undergone extensive restoration by conservators at the Museum of the Bible. This copy of the King James Bible is notable both for its age, and for a typographical error in the book of Ruth, which refers to Ruth as "he." Thus, it is referred to as the "Great He Bible."

Speaking to the historical value of the Bible, University Archivist Joshua Mackey reported the following: "Its publication date alone would make it notable. The first Authorized King James Bible was published in 1611, while King James I reigned [from] 1603 to 1625. This means that not only was this Bible among the first copies of the original KJV, but it also is contemporary to the king who authorized its translation and publication. It is a remarkable piece of history and a testament to both the craftsmanship of those early printers and the endurance of God’s Word.”

This reception is an opportunity for the university, denomination and broader community to celebrate the craftsmanship on display, as well as the good work the Lord has done to make this stewardship possible. The Bible will be on display alongside an exhibition of religious art from the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art collection. This exhibit will be on display through 2024.

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, founded in 1919, is among the oldest museums in Oklahoma. The museum features Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects, art from the Middle Ages and Renaissance through the early 20th century, and large holdings of Native American, African/Oceanic and Eastern cultural artifacts. The museum is located on the grounds of OBU’s Green Campus at 1900 W. MacArthur Street in Shawnee. For more information, please visit the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art website.

This event is free and open to the public, with light refreshments provided. It will include a few brief statements from the university and the Oklahoma Baptists, followed by a first look at the exhibit and time to explore the museum and visit with the OBU archivist, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art staff, and Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commissioners who helped make this possible.

For more information about this event, contact Julie Rankin, library director, 405.585.4522, or Joshua Mackey, university archivist, 405.585.4520,