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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Apocalypse 1554, Lyons, France

Title page to the Book of Revelation (Apocalypsis). It contains Chapter 1:1-4, along with several beautiful woodcuts. Its size is 3 x 4.5 inches (7.5 x 12 cm), so it is a rather small leaf. It was printed in Lyons, France by Sebastian Gryphius, 1544 edition.

I love to collect title pages, and my focus -- whenever possible -- is on the title pages of both Genesis and Revelation ... the first and last books of the Christian Holy Bible. I have both of these in the first edition, first printing, of the 1611 King James (He) Bible (very rare!), and I like to use them as my "bookends" for the rest of my exhibit items.

Of course, this leaf is printed in Latin. This is Jerome's "standard" version, and it quickly took over all other Latin versions. His sources include many of the "Old Latin" Bibles, and also from non-Latin sources, such as the Septuaginta (Greek translation of the Old Testament), and whatever Greek manuscripts of the New Testament he could find.

Today, it is known as the Vulgate Bible (Biblia Vulgata; Biblia Latina; and Biblia Sacra, Latin for Holy Bible).

It was made to be more accurate and easier to understand than the Old Latin versions, using everyday Latin rather than the more "elegant" Ciceronian Latin.

It reigned supreme in the Western Church, even over the Greek and Hebrew versions, for over one thousand years.

For me, personally, I am fascinated by the "Old" Latin translations, because -- if I understand correctly -- the eventual King James Bible and the Protestant Reformation grew out of the very early use of the Old Latin translations. I'm assuming that this information and history is not of very great interest to others, because there is very little to learn about it. I believe that they would be known as the Italic translations -- i.e. the Italia Bible of 157 -- and the groups themselves behind them were actually the precursors to the eventual Protestant Reformation.

The lineage would be: Peshitta Bible 150; Italia Bible 157; Wycliff Bible 1382; Erasmus Bible 1522; Tyndale Bible 1525; Luther Bible 1534; Coverdale Bible 1535; Matthew Bible 1537;  The Great Bible 1539; Stephanus Bible 1550; Geneva Bible 1560; Bishop Bible 1568; Beza Bible 1604; King James 1611.

In any case, this is the Jerome Latin Vulgate -- which didn't have very much to do with the Reformation movement itself, other than spur on new translations by others such as William Tyndale (ex: changing the term "penance" to "repentance", etc.).