Saturday, December 6, 2008

Exhibit of English Bibles on display at Vanderbilt Divinity Library

If you are in the Nashville area, stop by the Vanderbilt Divinity Library and take a look at their display of various English Bibles in the atrium rotunda.

The Bibles, from the Fleming Collection in the Library Archives, offers an interesting sampling of these artifacts. The manner in which they are displayed highlights the various cover sheets of the editions (facsimiles are placed alongside the editions themselves, so you can see both the binding and the front matter. A nice touch).

I like especially that you can observe in these frontspieces the beginnings of justificatory authorization. Printed Bibles, produced for mass markets, have always found was to encode such justifications. In these versions, you can find variations of the following statement on the title pages:

Translated according to the Hebrew and Greek, and conferred with the best translations in all languages / With most profitable annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance

In other words, the Bible tells you how best to read it. This point will be expanded upon in future posts.

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