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THE BIBLE : EARLY TRANSLATIONS.
at Cologne in 1475, at Delft in 1477, at Gouda in 1479, A Valencian or Catalan version appeared at Valentia, in Spain, in 1478. Every copy of this edition, however, has been destroyed, though there is preserved a final leaf containing the names of the translator and printer. * This version owes its origin to the Christians of southern France. In Bohemia, where Huss laboured, manuscript copies of the Bible were largely multiplied after his martyrdom. As early as the year 1415, pope Pius the second (then known as Æneas Sylvius) remarks that it was a shame to the Italian priests of that age that many of them had not read the whole of the New Testament, whilst scarcely a Bohemian woman could be found who could not answer any question taken out of any part of the Bible. From 1410 to 1488, no less than four different recensions of the entire Scriptures can be distinctly traced, and many more of the New Testament, About thirty-three copies of the whole Bible, and twenty-two of the New Testament, all written during this period, are still extant, having survived the bitterest persecution. In 1488, the whole Bible in Bohemian was printed, and between that date and 1804, as many as fourteen large editions issued from the press.
It is an interesting addition to these facts to find that Ann, the queen of Richard the second of England, possessed copies of the Bible in Latin, German, and Bohemian---the first instance on record of a royal collector of these sacred books. * Hallam, vol, i. p. 172. † Bagster: The Bible in every Land,
NUMBER OF EDITIONS.
Of the Bible in French we have also more than one edition. In 1477, a complete version was printed by an Augustinian monk at Paris. Another edition, containing, however, only the historical parts of Scripture, was printed in 1487 by command of Charles the eighth ; and between 1512 and 1530 a version was published at Antwerp by Jaques le Fevre. This book is the basis of all other French versions, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic. The ancient Sclavonic version was printed, as we have seen, at Montenegro, before the close of the fifteenth century-manuscript copies of all these versions existed much earlier than the date of printing. Polish and Danish versions also existed, though they were not printed till after the Reformation had begun. All these versions, it may be added, were made for the most part from the Latin Vulgate. They all preceded the Reformation, and all preceded the first published English Testament by Tyndale, (1527.)
Of the number of editions, and the consequent extent to which the Bible was circulated in the fifteenth century, it is less easy to speak; but there are facts which may serve to guide our conclusion. Panzer, the authority on this question, states that between the year 1450, the date of the invention of printing, and 1500, there were printed not less than ten thousand editions of different books. Some reckon as many even as fifteen thousand. Of these, ninetyone were editions of the Vulgate. Again : out of the twenty-four editions of different books
NUMBER OF COPIES.
which were printed between the years 1461 and 1470, seven were editions, as we have seen, of the Scriptures. Combining these facts, it is not too much to say that before the labours of Luther had assumed a definite form, there must have been printed as many as one hundred and fifty editions of the Bible. Evidence of another kind corroborates this view. In 1559, the first index of books prohibited by the church” was set forth by pope Paul iv: the index includes Bibles in all modern languages, and enumerates forty-eight editions, chiefly printed in countries still under the power of the church. Sixtyone printers are also put under a general ban, and all works from their presses are forbidden. In addition to this list, the council of Trent had a prohibited index of its own.
The number of copies printed in each edition must, of course, have varied. In a petition presented in 1472 by printers of that day to Sixtus iv., they complain of their poverty, and say it was brought upon them by printing so many books which they had not been able to sell. They state that of classic authors each edition generally consisted of two hundred and seventy-five copies, and that an edition of a theological work (including the Bible) consisted of five hundred and fifty. Reckoning moderately, therefore, one hundred and fifty editions of Scripture, and four hundred copies of each, it appears that there must have been as many as sixty thousand copies of the Scriptures printed, and circulated partly in Latin and
partly in the vernacular languages of central Europe, before the Reformation,
The fall of price in books, consequent on the art of printing, bore a proportion to the increase of their numbers, though, of course, the price was kept up for some time through the extended demand. In the middle ages, a manuscript was sometimes bought at the price of a considerable estate, and the sale or loan even of a book was often solemnly registered by public acts. When Louis XI. of France wished to borrow a manuscript from the library of the Faculty of Paris, he had to deposit one hundred golden crowns, and his treasurer sold part of the royal plate to make up the amount; this last fact occurred in the middle of the fifteenth century.
Somewhat earlier the countess of Anjou bought a favourite book of Homilies for two hundred sheep and a hundred busbels of wheat and rye, A student of Paris, who had run through his property, raised a new fortune by pawning a manuscript" book of laws;" and a grammarian, who had been ruined by a fire, rebuilt his house with two small volumes of Cicero. In some of those instances, no doubt, the high price given is to be attributed to a temporary scarcity of the volumes, or to the peculiar value of certain copies. The common price, however, for a folio volume of no rarity in the fourteenth century, is reckoned by Lambinet as equal to twenty pounds sterling in modern money, and in this estimate Hallam seems to agree.
OPINIONS OF ROMISH CHURCII.
91 The invention of printing produced a great change. It took off at once four-fifths of the price, and in a few years, the universities laid down a tariff of prices even lower. Though, therefore, there is still room to contrast our modern prices with even these an English Bible for tenpence, and a Chinese Testament for sixpence-yet this great reduction must have brought the sacred books within the reach of thousands who had previously found it impossible to obtain them,
Modern inquiry has elicited similar facts in the history of our own country. In twentyeight years of the reigns of Henry vill, and Edward vi., upwards of a hundred editions of the Old and New Testaments seem to have been printed and circulated in England. We may safely ascribe to this cause therefore much of the progress of the principles of the Reformation, both in our own country and on the continent.
That this circulation of the Scriptures was extensive enough in the opinion of the authorities to do great mischief, is clear from the steps taken by them. To appeal to the New Testament was the heresy of all the reformed ; and in the case of the Waldenses, the Paterines, and others, the practice had been forbidden by successive councils. Nor had the spirit of the hierarchy undergone any extensive change. As early as 1486, Berthold, the archbishop of Mentz, issued a mandato, rebuking what he called “the abuse of printing," the “conversion of what was intended for the instruction of