a, fol. A4v, Matthew 6
A) Biblia, das ist: Die Heilige Schrift altes und neues Testaments, nach der Deutschen uebersetzung D. Martin Luthers. Germantown: Christoph Saur, 1743.
Thick quarto. 2 vols. in 1 (, 995; 277,  pages), 9¾ x 7⅜ inches. Fraktur. Bound in calfskin over beveled boards; catchplates, one boss and 3 boss-plates retained. § DM 4240; Evans 5128; O’Callaghan 1743, no. 1. § CD-ROM: 12.2a, title page.
B) Biblia, das ist: Die Heilige Schrift Altes und Neues Testaments. Germantown: Christoph Saur, 1763.
C) Biblia, das ist: Die Ganze Göttliche Heilige Schrift, Alten und Neuen Testaments. Germantown, Christoph Saur, 1776.
Due to the restrictive terms of the Bible Patent, an English law designed to keep an accurate text and produce revenue for the sovereign, the printing of Bibles in English was restricted to Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the sovereign’s printer, and sometimes to the Stationers’ Company. This law applied to all English territories, so printers in the American Colonies were not allowed to print the Bible in English. Thus the earliest printed biblical texts in America are not in English [12.1].
Christoph Saur (1693–1758) printed the first European language Bible in America, using Fraktur (a German style of black letter) type obtained from the Luther Foundry of Frankfurt, Germany. It took three years to complete the printing and the edition was 1200 copies at a price of 18 shillings. For the poor, Saur wrote, "we have no price."
Many stories have attached themselves to the Saur Bibles. One of the most interesting relating to the 1743 edition is that Saur sent a crate containing 12 copies of his printing of the Bible to Dr. Heinrich Luther of the Luther Foundry in gratitude for the gift of the type with which to print them. The ship containing the crate was captured by pirates, but after two years, the crate arrived at its destination. The late William Salloch, distinguished bookseller, located and sold two copies of this shipment—in 1974 and 1986. Heinrich Luther had printed the story of the Bibles’ adventure, and pasted a copy in each Bible, signing them.
Considering the blood, sweat, and tears it took to produce 1200 copies at the hand press in three years of the hardest labor, one could assume that religious leaders would support Christoph Saur. Not so! Religious sectarianism was particularly strong and vigorous among people of Germanic descent at this period in Pennsylvania. The Reverend Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, of the German Lutheran Church, did everything in his power to embarrass the work. The Reverend Caspar Schnoor of the German Reformed Church at Lancaster did the same. Chief among the charges leveled at Saur was that he was an "arch Separatist"—in other words, he had a mind of his own.
Christoph Saur II (1721–84) continued his father’s work, and produced the second Saur Bible in 1763 in an edition of 2000 copies. It is the first Bible printed in America on American-made paper. Christoph Saur I, while deeply religious, had maintained his independence from Germanic religious factions. His son, however, became an elder in the Dunkers (modern day Church of the Brethren) movement, which meant that he would neither take an oath or bear arms. This was to bring him serious difficulties later.
The third Saur Bible is also a first: the first Bible printed from American made type. The type was manufactured by Justus Fox at the Saur type foundry in Germantown. Legends cling to this particular edition, most of which will not bear too much scrutiny.
One of the most frequently met is that this is the "Gun-Wad" Bible. The story details the seizure of many unbound leaves of this edition to make cartridge paper during the Battle of Germantown, 4 October 1777. Whether it was the British or American troops who did this depends upon who is telling the story. Another legend relates that when the British stabled their horses after winning the battle, they seized many of the unbound leaves to make litter for their horses. Yet one more story is that during the battle, one of Saur’s daughters gathered sufficient leaves to make a copy each for her ten children.
Whatever happened to the major portion of this edition of 3000 copies, it nevertheless seems to have survived in a relatively large number.
After the close of the Revolutionary War, the pacifist Christopher Saur II, who had not participated in the War, was badly treated. His neighbors, those on whom he and his father had showered many kind deeds, seized his property, leaving him nothing. He finished his life in quiet resignation, earning his bread by binding books.