The Bible printed by Gutenberg in 1453-56 was the first major work produced with moveable type in the Western world. It was thus, also the first time that the text of the Bible became available to people in more than unique hand-written texts.
The early printers copied the style and format of the manuscript, which was to them the obvious book format. In this display case is a facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible, open to the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, which tells of the Nativity of Jesus.
The text is in abbreviated Latin, from the Vulgate Version of the Bible, and printed in a style of type which imitated the black-letter Gothic hand-writing of the German scribes. Copies of the unabbreviated Latin text and the English translation in the Revised Standard Version are also displayed.
Gutenberg Bible. [Reproduction
of the Gutenberg printing of the Vulgate Bible, 1456?] Paris, Edition
les Incunables, 1986 (c1985). #F1612B
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2 Factum est autem in diebus illis exiit edictum a caesare augusto ut describeretur uniuersus orbis Haec descriptio prima facta est praeside syriae cyrino Et ibant omnes ut profiterentur singuli in suam ciuitatem Ascendit autem et ioseph a galilaea de ciuitate nazareth in iudaeam ciuitatem dauid quae uocatur bethleem eo quod esset de domo et familia dauid Ut profiteretur cum maria desponsata sibi uxore praegnate Factum est autem cum essent ibi impleti sunt dies ut pareret Et peperit filium suum primogenitum et pannis eum inuoluit et reclinauit eum in praesepio quia non erat eis locus in diuersorio
Et pastores erant in regione eadem uigilantes et custodientes uigilias noctis supra gregem suum Et ecce angelus domini stetit iuxta illos et claritas dei circumfulsit illos et timuerunt timore magno
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirini-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.