fol. C4v-C5r, Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
In 1552, William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament appeared once again in the first of three illustrated quarto editions revised by Richard Jugge (fl. 1531–57?). This New Testament, with Jugge’s notes and introductions printed in italics, includes an elaborate woodcut on the title page portraying the fifteen-year-old King Edward VI, to whom the work was dedicated (this is supplied in facsimile in the Ryrie copy). The book is further ornamented with 122 modest but lively woodcuts which illustrate the major themes of the Gospels (87) and Revelation (21), or supply portraits of the evangelists and apostles (8). Some of the "portraits" had been used in Coverdale’s Bible of 1535. The final leaf bears the undated colophon: "Imprynted at London by Rycharde Jugge . . . With the kynge his moost gratious lycence, and priuilege, forbyddynge all other men to print or cause to be printed, this, or any other Testament in Englyshe."
Historically, Jugge’s New Testament derives its significance not from its text, which had been in print for more than two decades, but from its rich program of illustrations. The woodcuts found in the gospels are horizontal in composition, filling the entire breadth of the text column. More than simple ornamentation, they divide the text block and arrest the eye so as to call attention to their imagery. The smaller, vertical woodcuts illustrating the Book of Revelation are combined with a half-column of text.
Perhaps the most famous and fascinating of all of these images is that which accompanies Matthew 13. Like many of the Gospel illustrations, it was clearly produced from two blocks: on the left, a block for Christ and the multitude, which was combined with other images in five other contexts within the same Bible, and on the right, a block illustrating Christ’s second parable of the sower. In the text, Christ puts forth the apocalyptic similitude between the kingdom of heaven and the good sower who sleeps while his foe sows harmful tares amidst his wheat. The good sower decides not to gather up the tares, lest he uproot the wheat, and waits for the harvest to reap the wheat for his barn and burn the tares. Christ explains:
He that soweth the good seed, is the sonne of man. And the feilde is the worlde. And the chyldren of the kyngedome, they are the good seede. And the tares are the chyldren of the wycked. And the enemye that soweth them, is the devyll. The haruest is the end of the world. And the repers be the Aungels. For even as the tares are gathered and brent in the fyre, so shall it be in the ende of thys worlde (C5v).
All of the important elements of the parable are brought to life in the woodcut. In the foreground are the sleeping sower with his wife and child. At the right is the enemy who sows the tares, identifiable as the Devil by his fiendish features as well as his serpent’s tail. His peg-leg suggests he has lost a limb, but even in this he deceives us, for closer inspection reveals that he has simply tied a brace to his bent-back knee. (This motif also appears in contemporary woodcuts from the Netherlands.) Finally, in the background we see the burning tares at the left while the sheaves of wheat are gathered at the right, a harvest which was clearly symbolic of the Last Judgment for all who looked upon it.
Two woodcuts illustrating the Book of Revelation also deserve our attention: the whore of Babylon from Revelation 17, and the measuring of the temple from Revelation 11. In the image of the whore of Babylon, the woman sits upon a seven-headed beast with "a cup of gold in hyr hande, ful of abhominations and filthines of hyr fornication" (Qq5v). Notably, she wears a three-tiered tiara. This overtly anti-papal iconography follows that of the woodcut of the same subject that Lucas Cranach had supplied in 1522 for Luther’s Septembertestament. Moreover, Jugge’s marginal note calls attention to "the beast with two hornes, which is the second kingedome of Rome."
The other woodcut depicts the measuring of the temple and the confrontation between the two witnesses and the beast that will kill them. Interestingly, at the far end of the sanctuary is an altar table with two candles and an open book, which indicates the eastward orientation of the communion celebrant in the time of Edward VI (Pp8v). This imagery is by no means unusual, but it was to play a significant role in a controversy of a later age: "The Lincoln Judgment" of 1888–90. The Bishop of Lincoln, Edward King (1829–1910), was accused of following Catholic ritual during the communion ceremony because he faced eastward at the altar between two lighted candles. The Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury convened to judge the matter and consulted textual and visual evidence of English use before and since the Reformation. The final judgment validated the eastward position and the use of candles, provided that the celebrant make the manual acts of the consecration of the Holy Eucharist visible to the communicants to the west of the altar. Indeed, the open book and candles in the woodcut from Jugge’s edition were listed in the Archbishop’s Judgment as evidence in Bishop King’s favor.
Literature: Church of England 1890, 95; Fry 1887, 144–48; Russell 1912, 143–210.