Introductory Remarks: St. Andrew’s Lecture
It has become something of a custom for me to begin my opening remarks this way:
Dr. John Murray, of Duquesne University and the commission that crafted the Allegheny County Home Rule charter; Pittsburgh City Councilman and community activist Sala Udin; Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and co-founder of the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership, the Very Rev. George Werner; WQED President George Miles; beloved Pittsburgh mayor, the Hon. Sophie Masloff; economist and writer, Linda Dickerson; director of the Mendelssohn Choir and Pittsburgh arts community leader, Dr. Robert Page; Judge and civic leader the Hon. Cynthia Baldwin; columnist Tony Norman; KDKA economics and political reporter Jon Delano; Church Historian Dr. Jeremy Bonner; Pittsburgh Urban League President Esther Bush. WQED documentary film maker Rick Sebak. That’s thirteen, and amazing!
Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, and Neighbors. My name is Bruce Robison. I’m rector of St. Andrew’s Church, and it is my great pleasure to welcome you to this Fourteenth Annual St. Andrew’s Lecture.
St. Andrew’s has been a part of the City of Pittsburgh and the Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania, first in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania at our founding in 1837 and in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh since it was formed from Pennsylvania in 1867, so 172 years now, and it continues to be very much a part of our sense of identity and our mission and ministry to be a positive force for this neighborhood of Highland Park, where we’ve been since 1906, and for the Church in our diocese, our city and the whole region. The St. Andrew’s Lecture was founded to build on and extend that mission, as we have been proud to bring guests and speakers of note from our wider community to talk about life and work, to reflect on the past, to describe the issues of the present, and to say something as well about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for us.
In any case, it has become a wide and varied and very gifted tradition, this lecture, and I’m glad we can build on it in such a positive way this evening. I would mention that the Lecture is funded entirely from special gifts, from the proceeds of our annual Summer Book Sale, and from contributions received in baskets at each Lecture. This evening’s lecture is also co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and we are very thankful for a generous grant as a part of that co-sponsorship. It is important to us in any event that the Lecture can continue to be a free event for the whole community, and I thus happily encourage you to be generous in leaving a Free Will Donation in one of the baskets at the door this evening.
As you leave your contribution, I would also encourage you to fill out and leave in the baskets as well the brief survey form included in this evening’s program, which helps us know who came and how you found out about the program. The incentive for returning the form this year, appropriate for our evening, is that we will be having a drawing over at the reception after the lecture to give away a number of brand new copies of the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
The evening and program are planned and hosted by our Adult Programs Committee, and if those members of the committee who are here would stand, I’d like among them all to acknowledge the special contribution of the Committee’s secretary, Peg Ghrist, who does so much of the organization and communication that this event requires. I also want to recognize and acknowledge my friend and colleague the Rev. Dr. Philip Wainwright, retired rector of St. Peter’s in Brentwood, who serves as Priest Associate here at St. Andrew’s and who was invited by Bishop Price and our Standing Committee to be the Prime Mover in arranging this event and in recruiting our speaker to focus our diocesan observance of the King James Version anniversary. Finally, I would acknowledge with great thanks as well the work of Jinny Fiske and so many of the St. Andrew’s Hospitality Team, who have prepared a gala reception for us over in Brooks Hall.
To say now a word about this evening’s lecture.
A lot has been written on this topic this year, and it’s interesting just to type King James Version Anniversary into a search engine and to see the great volume of recent material.
I read somewhere: "The last Harry Potter book is said to have sold about 44 million copies. Quite remarkable. But the Book whose first publication we note this evening is said to have sold, 6 Billion."
We also read that "It has been called one of the two greatest works of the English language, rivaled only by Shakespeare. For many, it is the only Bible they consider "authentic." It was seven years in the making, the work of a 54-member committee, but within 90 years it had come to be known simply as the Bible."
As we have said, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the printing of the King James Bible, a work of religious, political and linguistic force that continues to shape the thinking and vocabulary of much of the English-speaking world.
Perhaps many of us will know some of the story. Enough to have in mind the rich, dramatic context, social, political, theological, spiritual, of Reformation Era English life, and really the long span from the end of the 15th century all the way to the middle of the 17th. In the midst of all that, the story of the English Bible is one that can be for us both illuminating and inspiring.
A 1978 graduate of the Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, the University of Kansas, The Denver Seminary in Colorado, and with Ph.D from the University of Chicago Divinity School, Dr. Philip Harrold is Associate Professor of Church History of our Trinity School for Ministry just downriver in Ambridge, having served previously in the faculty of the Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio.
Dr. Harrold’s publications and research interests show a fascinating breadth. His doctoral dissertation studied the history of secularization of higher eduction in the United States, but he travels highways and byways from the Patristic era to the present, and with a special interest in Wesleyan and Anglican subjects. In all that, with strong contemporary application to the concerns for mission of the Church today—and to quote him directly, “The question he finds especially intriguing is, ‘how do we read the past for the sake of the present?’ In other words, how do we actually put into practice the idea that the history of the Church is a vital resource for Christian wisdom in our own time and place?”
The title of Dr. Harrold’s presentation this evening, as you can see in our program, is “Englishing the Scriptures and Evangelizing the Nation: The Theology of Translation in the King James Bible.” Following his talk we will remain for a bit to invite a little dialog, and perhaps launch with some questions that will catapult us from the 17th century to the present--so if there are questions that occur to you along the way, please do your best to remember them at the end. And then of course again we’ll have an opportunity to chat with each other informally at the reception.
Please join me to welcome, Dr. Philip Harrold.
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