fol. S2r, Philippians
The Nevve Testament of our Lord Iesus Christ. Conferred diligently with the Greke, and best approued translations. Geneva: Conrad Badius, 1557.
Small octavo. , 455 leaves, 5 x 3¼ inches. Roman and italic. Headpiece and the 5-line and 12-line high woodcut initials hand colored. Symbolic engraving on title page represents Time bearing a scythe pulling truth out of a pit with an inscription reading "God by Time restoreth Truth, and maketh her victorious." Bound in blind-tooled calfskin; traces of two fasteners; new spine, gilt lettering. Lacking 7 leaves at end of table. § DMH 106; STC (2nd ed.) 2871. § CD-ROM: 11.4, title page.
This is the earliest English New Testament printed in roman type with verse numbers; ABC chapter divisions have also been retained. Cross-references appear on one side of text, and explanations on the other. Italic type is used to indicate words supplied by the translator which were not found in available manuscripts. The Greek texts used for this edition were, no doubt, Estiennes Greek New Testament of 1551 and de Bèzes of 1556. The English text most heavily relied on was Tyndales New Testament, most likely the edition printed by Richard Jugge in 1552.
William Whittingham, the translator, was educated at Oxford. His Calvinistic views forced him to flee to Frankfurt where he joined John Knox (150572) in a bitter dispute with other English exiles concerning the Edwardian Prayer Book. When Knox was defeated, both he and Whittingham went to Geneva where he succeeded Knox as minister. Whether Whittingham had ever been ordained has never been fully established.
In his prefatory statement To the reader mercie and peace through Christ our Saviour Whittingham notes:
... that the Reader might be by all meanes proffited, I have devided the text into verses and sections, according to the best editions in other langages, and also, as to this day the ancient Greke copies mencion, it was wont to be used. And because the Hebrewe and Greke phrases, which are strange to rendre in other tongues, and also short, shulde not be to harde, I have sometyme interpreted them without any whit diminishing the grace of the sense ...(xx2v).
The English congregation at Geneva had already had the English version of Calvins liturgy, but needed a translation of the New Testament suitable for their worship services. In answering that need, Whittinghams work was also a giant step toward the production of the Geneva Bible of 1560. However, the 1557 New Testament is a distinct translation and was not reprinted in the 1560 complete Bible.