The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit that I mentioned in my last post includes some Bibles from the UWM Libraries’ Special Collections. Here is more information of these items courtesy Max Yela, Special Collections Librarian.
Biblia Latina. Venice: Hieronymus de Paganinis, 1497.
An early “pocket” edition of the Bible. This printing demonstrates the continuation of manuscript traditions after the innovation of the printing press: the empty spaces left for initial capital letters were intended to be hand illuminated. A few Venetian Bibles of this period were small in size, demonstrating how price decreases, facilitated by mass-production, allowed the gradual evolution of the Bible from ornate relic to individually owned book for home study.
Biblia. Lugduni [Lyons]: Antoine Du Ruy for F. Turchus, D. Berticinius and J. de Giuntis, 1528.
A new Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek texts by the Italian Dominican monk Sante Pagnini. This 1528 Bible is the first printing of Pagnini’s translation; a version esteemed for its closeness to the original tongues, but criticized by reformationist Martin Luther for excessive literalism and “Jewish scholarship.” This closeness to the Hebrew was well received by Jewish scholars, who judged Pagnini’s translation as the only adequate Christian Latinate version of the Bible. Pagnini’s presentation was among the first attempts to print a Bible with standardized verse numbers. This numbering system was eventually abandoned, however, for that developed by French Bible printer Robert Estienne.
The Holy Bible (King James). Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1811.
Irish-born Philadelphia printer Mathew Carey was one of the most prolific Bible publishers of the early republic. Most well-known for publishing the first Roman Catholic version of the Bible printed in the United States in 1790, Carey also printed numerous editions of the King James version, such as this copy.
New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. . . . New York: American Bible Society, 1864.
These small, “Pearl” format pocket Bibles were distributed to U.S. soldiers by the American Bible Society, in continuation of a tradition begun by the Army and Navy in 1817. The Civil War posed a real dilemma to the New York based society; continuing to distribute Bibles to its auxiliaries in the Confederate states despite its opposition to slavery. A splinter Confederate States’ Bible Society was formed, but the American Bible Society continued to cross battle lines on both sides, distributing more then 3,000,000 Old and New Testament volumes before the end of the war. The separate-volume pocket Testaments were highly prized for solace and leisure reading, and would be exchanged for food by prisoners of war. Even amidst the squalor of the POW camps, the right of every man to read the Bible was considered sacred.
The Holy Bible: Containing All the Books of the Old and New Testaments. Designed and illustrated by Barry Moser. North Hatfield, Mass.: Pennyroyal Caxton Press, 1999.
This sumptuous two-volume set, designed and produced by the American illustrator, wood-engraver, and book artist Barry Moser, is the first fully-illustrated Old and New Testaments by a single artist since Gustav Doré’s Bible of1866, and the last letterpress-printed Bible of the second millennium. The typefaces were designed by Matthew Carter and printed from polymer plates by Bradley Hutchinson at his press in Austin, Texas on custom-made paper by the Zerkall Paper Mill in Zerkall, Germany. The hundreds of illustrations are all original prints pulled directly from the resingrave blocks cut by Moser. The entire edition of 400 copies was hand bound in full limp vellum by Claudia Cohen and Sarah Creighton in Easthampton, Massachusetts.