186J Desiderius Erasmus von Rotterdam(1466-1536)

The First Tome (and second) or Volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus  upon the newe testament.     

Enpriented at London in fletestete at the signe of the sunne by Edwarde Whitchurche, the last daie of Januarie, 1548.     $38,000


TwoFolio volumes  12 1/2X 7 1/2  & 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches. First edition. Vol I: ( )6, (:)6, A-Q6, R4, (:)6, Aa6, B-O6 (leaf O6 blank and present), ¶6, (::)6, a-z6, aa-dd6, ee8, A-R6, S8, A-N6, O4 [lacking final leaf O4]. 565 leaves. “O4 is missing in all the copies examined, but it may be assumed that the recto is blank and the verso contains device McKerrow 107.” –Devereux. This two are bound in beautiful original boards heavy blind. stamped in tool and panel tools. They do not match,see note below.



Vol II: †6, ††6, ¶4, A-G6, H2, Aa-Ff6, Gg8, Hh-Kk6, Ll4, aa-cc6, dd4 (dd4 blank and present), ¶6 (¶6 blank and present), AA-BB6, CC4 (CC4 blank and present), AAa6, BBb4, aaaa6, bbbb4, AAAa-BBBb6 (BBBb6 blank and present), AAAA-EEEE6, FFFF4, AAAAa-DDDDd6, EEEEe4 (EEEEe4 blank and present), *2, ¶-¶H6, ¶I8, ¶¶A-¶¶F6, ¶¶G4. 362 leaves

   Not 1548/9; copies were bought before the autumn of 1548”-Devereux). The “second Tome” was not begun until the autumn of 1548 and did not appear in print until 1549, with the date of August 16. The two publications are not uniform in format, the second volume having been printed on smaller paper and set with fewer lines of type per page. Furthermore, Edward VI’s royal injunctions of July 1547 only specified the purchase of the first volume (see Craig, p. 316) with the result that many parishes never bought the companion volume. Thus, few“sets” exist as such.The English Paraphrases:

“Erasmus’ ‘Paraphrases in Novum Testamentum’ were written between 1517 and as extended popular commentaries on the whole ‘New Testament

except ‘Revelation’, a result of his work on the Scriptural text and the ‘Annotations’. Paraphrasing was, as C. R. Thompson has remarked, ‘a literary, hermeneutic, and pedagogical method admirably suited to Erasmus’ purpose, which was not that of replacing the Gospels but of making them easier to read and more fruitful.’ Bishop Stephen Gardiner was to object to the form, which he argued allowed Erasmus to write as Christ and the Apostles rather than simply as commentator, but it is clear that Erasmus had based his work on long study, the Fathers and the ‘consensus ecclesiae.’ Despite Gardiner’s complaint, the ‘Paraphrases’ were successful and highly popular.
“The impact of Erasmus’ ‘Paraphrases’ was enormous. Like his edition of the Greek New Testament and his ‘Annotations’, the ‘Paraphrases’ made the Bible increasingly more accessible to ordinary people. In his dedicatory epistle to the paraphrase on Mark, Erasmus expresses satisfaction at seeing ‘Christian literature, and especially the New Testament, studied so eagerly by everyone, even laymen in private station, that professional experts in the Scriptures are quite often worsted by them in debate.’”(Erika Rummel)

Their impact was particularly strong in England, where Edward VI ordered that an English translation of Erasmus’ work, undertaken at the behest of Catherine Parr in 1543, should be made available in all churches “with a further hope of having them printed and circulated as widely as possible as an aid to Bible study.” (Devereux)

“On 12 July 1543, King Henry VIII married Catherine Parr, a lady well known for her humanist and religious interests. Fairly soon afterwards she began to use her position to get the whole of the ‘Paraphrases’ translated into English, with a further hope of having them printed and circulated as widely as possible as an aid to Bible study. By the autumn of 1545 the translations of the Gospels and Acts were in her hands, that of John having been done for her by Princess Mary, with the help of her chaplain Francis Malet, Mark by Thomas Key, and Luke by Nicholas Udall…who became the general editor of the work…

“[Edward Vi’s injunctions of July 1547] included the order that all parish churches must provide copies of the Great Bible and ‘the Paraphrasis of Eramsus also in Englishe upon the Gospelles’, to be set up in churches where all parishioners could ‘resorte unto the same, and reade the same.’ The books were to be paid for half by the parish and half by the parson or holder of the advowson, and were to be bought within a year of the ensuing visitation. Clergy under the degree of BD were also supposed to have copies of the New Testament and Paraphrases and ‘diligently study the same, conferring the one with the other.’

“In the autumn of 1548 Whitchurch himself brought together translators to complete the ‘Paraphrases’. His new patroness, the Duchess of Somerset, could not give as much support as the Queen had, and Udall moved on to other fields, leaving the post of general editor to Myles Coverdale, who had worked with Whitchurch ad Grafton on the Great bible. The translation became more openly Protestant, without the restraints of Queen Catherine or the old king, and added to Erasmus both the paraphrase of Revelation by the Swiss reformer Leo Jud and Tyndale’s ‘Prologue to Romans’, which was itself mainly a translation of Luther’s. Coverdale himself did much of the translation, at least Romans, Corinthians and Galatians. Whitchurch’s friend John Old, of whom little is known, did Ephesians, Philippians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Philemon, and the Canonical Epistles, for which the duchess got him a Warwickshire benefice. He also sought out Leonard Cox, to get him to revise his earlier version of Titus.

“The ‘First tome’ appeared with the date 31 January 1548, a date retained for issues and editions until the revised edition of 1551… It is possible that the date was not the actual day on which printing was completed, but was chosen as being a half-way between the date of Edward VI’s injunctions and 31 July 1548, by which time the first churches visited would have been obliged to procure copies…. Work began on the ‘Second tome’ began in the autumn of 1548 and was fairly complete by July 1549.
“Objections to the book that Erasmus had written ‘aboue 26 yeres a goo, when his penne was wanton’ were raised by Bishop Gardiner, who wrote a series of letters against the ‘Paraphrases’ from prison to the Council. He argued that they were not only wrong and misleading, but undermined the foundations of the English Church. […] The book, he claimed, stated that kings ruled not by ‘debt or ryght, but mutuall charitie: which is a meruelous matter,’ defended Purgatory and the invocation of saints, called the Eucharist a symbol, and allowed remarriage after divorce for adultery. He felt that the translator, whose name he did not know, was ‘ignoraunt in Latten and Englishe, a man farre vnmete to meddle with such a matter, and not without malice.’” (Devereux)
STC 2854; Devereux’s first checklist C67.5; Devereux 26.4.5; II. STC 2866; Devereux’s first checklist C68.1; Devereux 26.5.1. See also: Darlow and Moule 73; Bagster, “History of the English Bible”, Ch. VII.; E.J. Devereux, “English Translations of Erasmus 1522-1557”. For the bindings: Oldham, “English Blind-stamped Bindings”, p. 50 and Plate XLVI (#753 HE c (1)).



193J [Biblia. Testamentum Novum ]

Testamenti Aeditio postrema. per D. Erasmum, cum Scripturae concordantiis. Omnia picturis et novo indice illustrata. Acc- esserunt nova capitum argumenta, elegiaco carmine, per Rodolphum Gualterum.         

Francofurti ad Menum; Vvigandum Han,1560         $5,000


Octavo, 61/4 x 4 inches  †8,*8,A-Z8,Aa-Bb8. Bound in a Beautiful Pigskin binding over wooden boards with blind stamped bible scenes, one clasp present and working  the other has perished


In the desire to spread “the Wisdom of Christ” and make it more available to all those that were literate, thus initially published in 1516 together with the Greek Testament, cf. Darlow & Moule, note after no. 6096. He said that he had found more than Six-Thousand errors in the Vulgate  New Testament. He felt that his translation was closer ,clearer , more emotionally charged as well as more syntaticly correct, and thus Purer.

This  Bible begins with a Perpetual calendar beginning in 1551 to 1579.The preliminary leaves include Pope Leo X’sletter to Erasmus; “Erasmus … pio lectori”; and “Des. Erasmi … Paraclesis … ad Christianæ philosophiæ stadium “The N.T. text and the “argumenta” of Gualtherus are in italic type, other editorial matter in roman type. The text is not divided into verses.  Eusebian canons. Lives of Mark, Luke and John precede their Gospels; Erasmus’ “argumenta” precede the epistles In the margins, parallel references, etc.; references to the Eusebian canons in the Gospels. including  an index of the woodcut  illustrations.


The Addition of commentary of Rodolph Gwalter (1519-1586) is very interesting. Gwalter was a point person for the Swiss reformation, he was in close contact with Heinrich Bullinger during his youth . For Bullinger, he was a valuable collaborator in the management of the Zurich church and in assisting with his widely dispersed correspondence network By 1541 he returned to Zurich where he received the pastorate of St. Peter’s Church to replace Leo Jud. He married Huldrych Zwingli’s daughter Regula (1524–1565). As Zwingli’s son-in-law, he sought to preserve the great reformer’s heritage and remained true to his theological orientation. Gwalther’s Latin translations of Zwingli’s works helped disseminate his thought in the Romance language world.

With Zwingli, Bullinger, Wolfgang Musculus, and Thomas Erastus, Gwalther was a prime advocate of the Swiss German single-sphere model of church-state relations, and was a significant influence on the evolution of a statist model of church organization within the Church of England. (see, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, vol 2, 203)

There are 12woodcut illustrations, each for a month calendar.

Plus another One-hundred 1/3 page woodcuts describing the Biblical passage surrounding.


The combination of the Re-translation,  the commentary of a Swiss Reformer and the Woodcuts, and the ‘pocket size’ makes this a perfect Bible for  personal and protestant devotion.


VD 16 B 4294.  {quite rare, no North American copy listed)