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The Geneva Bible: 1560 Edition
Size: 7 .25 x 9.5 inches; 7 pt. type
Pub Date: 2007
Item Number: 562125
Case Quantity: 8
The Bible of the Protestant Reformation
Sixteenth century English Protestant scholars were determined to make the scriptures understandable to common people, so that, as William Tyndale famously put it, “the boy that driveth the plough should know more of the scriptures” than the educated man.
However, Queen Mary’s (1553–1558) persecution of her Protestant subjects caused many to flee to the continent to avoid imprisonment or execution. Geneva, Switzerland soon became a center for Protestant biblical scholarship. It was there that a group of the movement’s leading lights gathered to undertake a fresh translation of the scriptures into English, beginning in 1556.
Published in 1560, the Geneva Bible’s popularity kept it in print until
1644—long after the advent of the Authorized Version (a.k.a. King James
Version). It was an English Bible that met the needs of both clergy and laity.
Perhaps the Geneva Bible’s greatest contribution was its commentary,
which under girded the emerging practice of sermonizing and helped foster
scripture literacy. The Geneva Bible was the first to feature many
innovations in the field of Bible publishing:
The Geneva Bible accompanied English settlers voyaging to the new world. It is probable that the Geneva Bible came to America in 1607 and was used in the Jamestown colony. Thirteen years later the Pilgrims brought it with them on the Mayflower’s perilous voyage to religious freedom. The Geneva Bible stands as a landmark in the history of English Bible translation. Hendrickson’s facsimile reproduces one of the finest existing copies of the 1560 Geneva Bible. Using quality materials and crafted to last, Bible collectors and anyone interested in the history of the English Bible will treasure this volume.
Q. Will it come with a concordance using Strong’s numbers?
“Reprinted from the facsimile edition of the 1560 Geneva Bible that was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1969, this improved version is available in both genuine leather and in cloth covers, (cheapest prices for both editions can be found on Amazon.com, e.g. $88/£54 leather; $44/£27 cloth). Lloyd E. Berry's Introduction to the 1969 UWP facsimile is included and provides a wealth of interesting historical background detail to the 1560 edition. It is followed by a useful bibliography which, although not exhaustive, points the reader to further sources of information about historical matters raised in the Introduction.
“To aid the mid-16th century reader the translators of this Bible provided a marginal commentary, both textual and explanatory, 'upon all the hard places'. While the Scripture text of the Geneva Bible can be found in print, on CD-ROM, and on the World Wide Web, this magnificent reproduction of the I560 edition allows the reader to truly appreciate in the original format what is perhaps the Geneva Bible's most historically significant feature—its marginal notes.
“By the end of the I6th century the Geneva Bible had become quite a different book from the edition of 1560. Thomson's notes on the NT (added I576), the two Calvinistic catechisms (added 1568, I579), and the Junius notes on Revelation (I599 editions onwards)—all reinforced the strong Calvinistic tone of the Geneva Bible, so much loathed by King James I. By contrast the notes of the 1560 edition were, according to Berry, largely exegetical than argumentative. B. F. Westcott reckoned the marginal commentary to be 'pure and vigorous in style, and, if slightly tinged with Calvinistic doctrine', it was 'on the whole neither unjust or illiberal'.
“Printed on good quality, gilt-edged paper, the leather edition is beautifully bound. The 1560 edition also contains twenty-six woodcuts and five maps. Readers should note that being a facsimile the spelling throughout is in the old English forms commonly used in the sixteenth century. This is a wonderful piece of English Bible history to be treasured.”
“In 1553, Mary Tudor ascended the throne of England and set about to stamp out the Reformation, ordering the burning of all copies of the Bible in the English tongue and causing more than three hundred reformers to be burned at the stake. Bloody Mary's vicious crusade drove scores of English reformers to Geneva, including some of the finest biblical scholars in history. Together, these men produced a new Bible based on the original languages not beholden to any king or prelate. The Geneva Bible featured extensive marginal commentary and annotations and was published in a variety of sizes that made the Bible affordable for many people.
“The Geneva Bible was a monumental achievement in the history of Protestant Bible translation. Born in a time of religious and political upheaval it helped foster Scripture literacy among the common people of England.
“English settlers that voyaged to the New World favored The Geneva Bible. It is probable that The Geneva Bible came to America in 1607 and was used in the Jamestown colony. Thirteen years later the Pilgrims brought it with them on the Mayflower's perilous voyage to religious freedom.
“The Geneva Bible is unique among all other Bibles. It was the first to use chapters and numbered verses. The extensive marginal notes, written by Reformation leaders such as John Calvin, John Knox, Miles Coverdale, William Whittingham, Anthony Gilby, and others, were included to explain and interpret the scriptures for the common people. Owing to the marginal notes and the superior quality of the translation, The Geneva Bible became the most widely read and influential English Bible of the 16th and 17th centuries. It was continually printed from 1560 to 1644 in over 200 different editions. The marginal notes enraged the Catholic Church, since the notes deemed the act of confession to men as unjustified by Scripture. The notes also infuriated King James since they allowed disobedience to tyrannical kings. King James went so far as to make ownership of the Geneva Bible a felony.
“This attractive volume is a facsimile of the University of Wisconsin Press edition of the 1560 Geneva Bible. It features clear, legible type throughout with marginal commentary in smaller type. It, of course, is in Middle English that had different spelling and orthography that modern readers may find difficult at first, but which once soon gets used to. This volume has an authoritative introduction to the Geneva Bible by Lloyd E. Berry.
“Every Bible collector and student of the history of the Bible will certainly welcome this and other facsimile reprints published by Hendrickson Publishers."
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