Biblia cum concordantiis Veteris et Novi Testamenti

Strasbourg notably contributed to the history of printing. Johannas Gutenburg was a goldsmith in Strasbourg in the 1430s and is believed to have invented the idea of printing with moveable type about 1440. By 1548 he had returned to Mainz, where his father had also been a goldsmith. There he perfected his technical advances. In Strasbourg, printing began about 1461 and the town soon became a major center for the book trade with the production of both scholarly and popular books. By the early 1500s there were more than 70 printers in Strasbourg. Johannes Grüninger (born Johannes Reinhart in 1455) learned about the art in Basel, moved to Strasbourg in 1481, and printed his first book in 1483. Over a career that stretched into the 1530s, he produced more than 500 books—many Catholic but also humanist and scientific texts that were beautifully illustrated.

In 1497, Grüninger printed the present copy of the Latin Vulgate Bible, which was the Catholic Church’s Bible. The Vulgate is a late 4th-century translation by St. Jerome of portions of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew and his revision of “Old Latin” text. This edition includes marginal concordances and St. Jerome’s prefaces, and it is augmented by Gabriel Brunus’s revised alphabetic tables that summarize the contents of each of the books of the Bible as well as a table of interpretations of Hebrew names. It is an esteemed edition, but merely one of more than 90 incunable printings of the Vulgate Bible. 

The present copy is in the collection because of its early English provenance. It includes lightly scattered early English-language annotations and marginalia by several distinct hands. The oldest hand and the early-16th century script of John Dall (or Dale) of West Newton, Norfolk, are on the title-page verso. Dall wrote a most touching letter (or draft of a letter)—seemingly on his deathbed—to his grandson, James Dall, asking him to “com ouer to me …yf ye wyle speke wyth me on lyfe for am mad redy to god.” There is record of a James Dall, a priest who was involved in a lawsuit over goods (1533–38, Cley, Norfolk).

The present copy was later owned by Cesar de Missy (1703-1775). A theologian, chaplain to George III, scholar of the New Testament, and book collector, De Missy was famous for his efforts to preserve original manuscripts that enriched religious and philosophical understanding and moral debates on the issues of the day. His collection of books and manuscripts was donated to Glasgow University in 1807. 

f Chrzanowski 1479b *

Title List

1479–1550 | 1551–1580 | 1583–1608 | 1609–1675