Highlights of the Exhibition
Early Octavo Edition of the Bible
Biblia latina. Basel: Johann Froben, 27 October 1495.
Johann Froben printed the first
pocket-sized octavo Latin Bible at Basel in 1491 ― the so-called “Poor
man’s Bible.” He completed another edition in this small format (Median
paper folded three times) on 27 October 1495. Convenient to carry and
easily affordable, this edition combined several user-friendly features
that Froben advertised on his title page. This was the earliest Latin
Bible to bear a woodcut frontispiece. Based on a woodcut by Albrecht
Dürer, it faces the opening of St. Jerome’s introductory letter to
Paulinus. Here, the translator of the Vulgate turns from his work to
pull a thorn from the paw of his fabled companion, the lion. On his desk
are the texts of his Prologue to the Pentateuch and Latin and Greek
(Septuagint) versions of Genesis 1:1.
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Exhibit Curated by Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch, PhD with Eric White,
Webdesign by Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch, PhD
Photography by Jon Speck
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