I’ve decided to list them chronologically,
[not by size or language or (God forgive me, Importance) or Price, or where they are on my shelf….while slightly arbitrary, it has some sense to it, I hope.]
1)- 355J Bible Saint Jerome, Biblia cum summariis concordantiis 1500
2) The (Catholic) New Testament Rhemes 1582
3) The 1611 King James ‘HE’ bible
4) 1774 Pocket King James Bible .
#1 355J Bible Saint Jerome, Gabriello Bruno (active 1480-1514.);
Biblia cum summariis concordantiis : diuisionibus: quattuor repertoriis p[ro]positis: numeriq[ue] foliorum distinctione: terse et fidelit[er] imp[re]ssa.
[Lyons]: Jean Pivard, 29 Jan. 1500 & 1. $ 11,500.
Folio 10 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches inches, &8 ç8 , a8 [a1 blank and present] b6, c-z8 A-Z8 Aa8 Bb8; aa-cc8 dd10 [dd10 blank and lacking] . Bound in original full calf over wooden boards with 10 brass bosses. with many scribbled out ownership markings (frustratingly unidentified)
This Bible also includes the “Tabula alphabetica” of Gabriel Bruno, and notes on “translatores … Biblie”, and “modi intelligendi … scripturam”; at the end, “Interpretationes nominum hebraycorum”; with marginal references.
|&1r [Title-page.] &1v [Pivard, Jean: Introductory letter addressed to the reader.] Incipit: ‘Ne nesciens et ob id ingratus sacrosanctam diuini verbi . . .’&1v ‘Pulchra et vtilis diuisio totius Biblie’. &1v ‘In tabulam primam de ordine librorum ad lectorem disticon’. Incipit: ‘Perspice nunc, lector, quis debitus ordo librorum’; 1 distich.
&1v ‘Prima quattuor tabulorum’. &2v ‘Tabula secunda continens libros Biblie per ordinem alphabeti’. &2v [Alexander de Villa Dei pseudo-]: ‘Tertia tabula’. Pref. no. 58. ,[con]1r Brunus, Gabriel: ‘Quarta tabula’.
ç 8r [Explanatory note about translators of the Bible and commentators.]
ç 8v ‘Modi intelligendi sacram scripturam’. a2r Hieronymus: [Letter addressed to] Paulinus [ep. 53]. ‘Prologus in Bibliam’.. On this edition see also Hillard, ‘Les éditions de la Bible’, 72-3.
Goff B604; ISTC: ib00604000; GW 4281; Pell (Lyon) 137; Copinger, Incunabula Biblica, 120; Darlow–Moule 6090; HC 3128; Proctor: 8670;Sheppard 6736; Pell; 2341.
FIVE US COPIES
1)Boston Public Library, 2)General Theological Seminary, 3) Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 4)Library of Congress, Rare Book Division, 5) Southern Methodist Univ., Bridwell Library (418 ff)
The First English Catholic New Testament in English, printed at the seminarie at Rhemes
#2. 226J The Nevv Testament.
The Nevv Testament of Iesus Christ, translated faithfully into English, out of the authentical Latin, according to the best corrected copies of the same, diligently conferred vvith the Greeke and other editions in diuers languages; vvith arguments of bookes and chapters, annotations, and other necessarie helpes, for the better vnderstanding of the text, and specially for the discouerie of the corruptions of diuers late translations, and for cleering the controversies in religion, of these daies: in the English College of Rhemes.
Printed at Rhemes : By Iohn Fogny, 1582. $45,000
Quarto 218 x 165 mm a-c4, d2, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Zzz4, Aaaa-Zzzz4, Aaaaa-Ddddd4, Eeeeee2. The First English Catholic New Testament in English This copy is bound in seventeenth-century calf, sympathetically rebacked, with an attractive gold-tooled floral motif to the board edges. Internally, this copy is in very good condition with clean leaves. There is a little foxing to the first two leaves and a few trivial marginal tears. The upper margin is cut a bit close but the text is never affected.
The title page is set within a decorative border; the text is adorned with ornamental woodcut initials throughout. The text is beautifully printed in Roman with printed annotations, marginal notes, arguments and chapter summaries in italic.
“The ‘editio princeps’ of the Roman Catholic version of the New Testament in English. Translated from the Vulgate by Gregory Martin, under the supervision of William Allen and Richard Bristow. According to the “Douai Diaries”, Martin began the translation in October1578 and completed it in March 1582.
“The translation adheres very closely to the Latin, though it shows traces of careful comparison with the Greek. But its groundwork was practically supplied by the existing English versions, from which Martin did not hesitate t borrow freely. In particular there are very many striking resemblances between Martin’s renderings and those in Coverdale’s diglot of 1538. Martin’s own style is often disfigured by Latinisms.
“This Rheims New Testament exerted a very considerable influence on the King James version of 1611, transmitting to it not only an extensive vocabulary, but also numerous distinctive phrases and turns of expression. (See J.G. Carleton’s exhaustive analysis, The Part of Rheims in the Making of the English Bible. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902.)
“Since the English Protestants used their vernacular translations not only as the foundation of their own faith but as siege artillery in the assault on Rome, a Catholic translation became more and more necessary in order that the faithful could answer, text for text, against the ‘intolerable ignorance and importunity of the heretics of this time.’ The chief translator was Gregory Martin… Technical words were transliterated rather than translated. Thus many new words came to birth… Not only was [Martin] steeped in the Vulgate, he was, every day, involved in the immortal liturgical Latin of his church. The resulting Latinisms added a majesty to his English prose, and many a dignified or felicitous phrase was silently lifted by the editors of the King James Version and thus passed into the language” (Great Books and Book Collectors, 108).
Not only did Douay-Rheims influence Catholics, but also it had a substantive influence on the later creation of the King James Bible. (see below) The Authorized Version is distinguished from previous English Protestant versions by a greater tendency to employ Latinate vocabulary, and the translators were able to find many such terms (for example: emulation Romans 11:14) in the Rheims New Testament. Consequently, a number of the latinisms of the Douay–Rheims, through their use in the King James Bible, have entered standard literary English. Douay-Rheims would go on through several reprintings on both sides of the continent.
The translators of the Rheims New Testament appended a list of neologisms in their work, including many latinate terms that have since become assimilated into standard English. Examples include “acquisition”, “adulterate”, “advent”, “allegory”, “verity”, “calumniate”, “character”, “cooperate”, “prescience”, “resuscitate”, “victim”, and “evangelise”.
While such English may have been generated through independent creation, nevertheless the totality demonstrates a lasting influence on the development of English vocabulary. In addition the editors chose to transliterate rather than translate a number of technical Greek or Hebrew terms, such as “azymes” for unleavened bread, and “pasch” for Passover. Few of these have been assimilated into standard English. One that has is “holocaust” for burnt offering.
Pforzheimer, 68; Darlow & Moule 231; STC (2nd ed.), 2884; Herbert 177; Pierpont Morgan Library, The Bible 115; The Bible 100 Landmarks, 66; Bible in the Lilly Library 40.
#3. 210J KJV
The 1611 King James “The Great He Bible.”
FIRST EDITION OF THE AUTHORIZED VERSION
Arguably the most important book ever published in English.
KNOWN AS THE GREAT “HE” BIBLE, with the reading in Ruth III:15:
“he [referring to Boaz] measured sixe measures of barley and laide it on her; and he went into the citie.”
Title Page from 1611 King James Bible
The second pronoun “he” actually refers to Ruth, so it should read “and she went into the citie.” Because of this error, this first edition is often referred to as “The Great He Bible.” (after the Hebrew text), rather than “and she went” (after the Latin Vulgate) in the second edition. Also with all other first edition readings.
The Holy Bible, : conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: newly translated out of the originall tongues: & with the former translations diligently compared and reuised, by His Maiesties speciall com[m]andement. Appointed to be read in churches.
Imprinted at London : By Robert Barker, printer to the Kings most Excellent Maiestie. 1611 $230,000
Large Folio, 15 ¼ x 10 ½ inches : 732 leaves A6 B2 C6 D4 A-5C6; A-2A6}. complete
DEscriptive positioning and condition of the signatures.
A-C⁶D²; (O.T. and Apocrypha) A-Ccccc⁶; (N.T.) A-Aa⁶unpaginated or foliated. The General title mounted and with c. 18 small holes, mostly from old attempts to ink out a prior ownership inscription; the next several leaves have rust-like marks resulting from the damage to the title just mentioned; the double page map is a facsimile. There is a strip is torn from the blank outer margin of X6 (Hebrews 12/3); a small piece is torn from the top of Aa5, removing most of a word of text and a word of the headline, recto & verso; Aa6 (the final leaf) was missing and is replaced in facsimile; the final leaves of the NT are increasingly worn and lack the crisp, clean nature of the bulk of the text. Generally the text is crisp and clean, BUT at both front and rear the top margin is shaved, especially in Exodus & Numbers & to the beginning of Deuteronomy (and again at the end of the NT) touching the rule and occasionally the top of the headlines (elsewhere the top margins are small); there is a dampstain at the top from mid-I Kings, retreating to the inner corner in the Prophets, but persisting there to the Gospels: there is a bit more general staining at the end of the NT; the bottom outer corner is a bit creased and dog-eared pretty much throughout, evidencing the use such a Bible received in its early days as a lectern Bible; the outer edge of the leaves is slightly abraded at a few points.
This copy is bound in full modern calf in an appropriate style, as you can see in the following Images.
Called “the only literary masterpiece ever to have been produced by a committee,”the King James Bible was the work of nearly 50 translators, organized in 6 groups. G.M. “The editors who passed the book through the press were Miles Smith … and Thomas Bilson …”, see Herbert.
Trevelyan stated “for every Englishman who had read Sidney or Spenser, or had seen Shakespeare acted at the Globe, there were hundreds who had read or heard the Bible with close attention as the words of God. The effect of the continual domestic study of the book upon the national character, imagination and intelligence for nearly three centuries to come, was greater than that of any literary movement in our annals, or any religious movement since the coming of St. Augustine.”
Brake-Hellstern Cencus (BHC) of He Bibles 2017 # BHC-119; Carl H. Pforzheimer Library 61; English Short Title Catalogue,; S122347; Pollard, A.W. Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English books printed abroad, 1475-1640 (2nd ed.),; 2216; Herbert, A.S. Historical catalogue of printed editions of the English Bible, 1525-1961,; 309 Printing and the Mind of Man 114. ;Rumball-Petre, Rare Bibles, 122.
#4 King James version 1774
The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament and the New: .
Oxford: printed by T. Wright and W. Gill: and sold by S. Crowder, London; and by W. Jackson, Oxford 1774 $2,000
This copy is housed in a a very nice probably original sheep skin covering. The book is neatly bound in full calf that was once read but has faded. The binding is nicely tooled .
There is an ownership bark on the verso of the fly leaf of J
James McClymont, January 24 1776.
Copies – N.America
American Bible Society
LinkJohns Hopkins University, John Work Garrett
LinkUniversity of Toronto, Library
LinkZion Research Library, Brookline