Eric Abbott was Dean of Westminster between 1959 and 1974. Previously he was Dean at King’s College, London (1945-55), Chaplain to King George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth II, and the warden of Keble College, Oxford. The lecture is repeated each year at Keble College. He died in 1983 and was buried in the Abbey’s Nave. A memorial trust was endowed by his friends to provide for an annual lecture on spirituality and the first lecture was held in 1986.
“Translation it is that openeth the window to let in the light; that breaketh the shell that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain that we might look into the most holy place; that removeth the cover of the well that we may come by the water even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well by which means the flocks of Laban were watered.”
So Miles Smith in his essay, The Translators to the Reader, printed at the beginning of the 1611 English version of the Bible. The cascade of phrases conveys the reverent excitement at being able to look into the book of God’s Word in the vulgar tongue at a time when scripture was the foundation not only for the study of divinity but also for a little while longer the essential prolegomena to history, anthropology and politics.