Status: Complete


on the cross between the two thieves, commented the editor as
though disguising his enthusiasm for the new learning). But while
the New Testament part of the enterprise was printed in 1514, it was
not published until some years later, when the whole work, running
to six volumes, was complete. The first Greek Testament to be
published therefore, was the first edition prepared by the Dutch
humanist Desiderius Erasmus, printed at Basel and published in
March 1516. This first edition was followed in rapid succession by
others in 1519, 1522, 1527 and 1535. It was one or another of the
editions of Erasmus which formed the basis for Luther's German
New Testamend, first printed in 1522, and for William Tyndale's
English New Testament, first printed in 1525.

William Tyndale's translation was the first English New Testa-
ment to be printed. Surprise has sometimes been expressed that no
attempt had been made to print the earlier English New Testament,
the second Wycliffite version, which enjoyed a wide circulation in
manuscript throughout the fifteenth century. William Caxton set
up his printing-press towards the end of 1476 at the sign of the Red
Pale in the almonry at Westminster (on the site of the modern
Tothill Street). The output of his press was voluminous, including
a number of his own translations, for her was an able linguist. Among
his major editions were the works of Chaucer and Sir Thomas
Malory's Morte d' Arthur. Had he been minded to print the Bible in
Purvey's version, his press was certainly equal to the task, and the
work would have been sure of an even readier sale than Chaucer and
Malory. But the Constitutions of Oxford were still in force, and it
would probable have been difficult to secure episcopal permission for such wholesale profuction and discribution of the English Bible.

Caxton did, however, rint some portions of the biblical text in 1483
English in his translation of The Golden Legend. This work, origin-
ally compiled in Latin by one Jacobus de Voragine who later became
Archbishop of Genoa, consisted mainly of lives of the saints, includ-
ing the biblical patriarchs and apostles. The biographies of the
biblical characters were to a large extent transcripts of the relevant
biblical texts, and so Caxton's printing of this work included fairly
literal renderings not only of parts of the New Testament but also of
most of Genesis and part of Exodus. In 1509 a printed edition of


Z 239
G 72 L91 F
leaf from King James
Bible - 1611
From 1611 - 14 there were
5 editions which nearly
corespond, yet in close
inspection differences can
be noted.
The Black Letter folio
editions of the Royal Bible
1) "He" Bible of 1611
2) "She" Bible of 1611 or 13
3) a smaller Type edition
on paper of the same
size as The others, with
72 1. instead of 59 to
the column, 1613
4) 1617
5) 1634 6) 1640.

1611 - had no theological
notes, its interpretation being
left to the individual
reader; references to parallel
passages were inserted
in the original boxes.


A.V. - 3 editions appeared in quick succession in the year to publication. The
earliest is brown as "the great He edition" + the other 2 as "the great She
editions" becasue the 1st renders the closing words of Ruth 3:15 "as he
went into the city" whereas the others have "she" (the Hebrew manuscripts
themselves are devided between "he" + "she." Quarto + octavo editions
were published in 1612. Paragraph marks ([?]) indicated the beginning of
each paragraph up to Acts 20:36, but appear after this point.
Why this should be is not certain.

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page