Gutenberg Bible

early book printed with movable type

The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible or the Mazarin Bible) is a printed version of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible that was printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany in the 15th century. Although it is not the first book to be printed by Gutenberg's new movable type system,[1] it is his major work, and of central importance for the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the "Age of the Printed Book". It is a very rare and expensive book. Fewer than 200 were made, and 49 complete or nearly complete ones are known. It has 1286 pages.

Page from a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. The text is printed by movable metal type. The type, influenced by a manuscript style, is not easy to read. The decoration surrounding the text is done by hand.
Gutenberg Bible of the New York Public Library. Bought by James Lenox in 1847, it was the first copy to be acquired by a United States citizen.

The earliest known book with movable type was published 78 years before in Korea and is known as the Jikji.[2]

The Gutenberg Bible had a profound effect on the history of the printed book. It also had an influence on future editions of the Bible, likethe 36 Line Bible, Mentelin's Latin Bible, and the first and third Eggestein Bibles. The third Eggestein Bible was set from the copy of the Gutenberg Bible now in Cambridge University Library. The Gutenberg Bible also had an influence on the Clementine edition of the Vulgate commissioned by the Papacy in the late sixteenth century.[3][4]

  1. Man, John (2002). "6". Gutenberg; How one man remade the world with words. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. pp. 312. ISBN 0471218235. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
  2. Memory of the World,, accessed November 2009
  3. Needham, Paul (1999). "The Changing Shape of the Vulgate Bible in Fifteenth-Century Printing Shops". In Saenger, Paul; Van Kampen, Kimberly (eds.). The Bible as Book:the First Printed Editions. British Library. pp. 53–70. ISBN 0-7123-4601-5.
  4. Needham, Paul (2010). "Copy Specifics in the Printing Shop". In Wagner, Bettina; Reed, Marcia (eds.). Early Printed Books as Material Objects: Proceedings of the Conference Organized by the Ifla Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Munich, 19–21 August 2009. De Gruyter Sur. pp. 9–20. ISBN 978-3-11-025324-5.

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