Reformation > Bibles
This is a copy of the first edition of the Geneva Bible, the earliest English Bible printed in Roman type with verse divisions. When Mary I took the throne in 1553 C.E., England returned to Catholicism and many British Protestants fled to Geneva, which was a center for Biblical scholarship and vernacular Bible production. This Bible revised the earlier English “Great Bible” (1539 C.E.), the first English-language Bible authorized by the Church of England) in light of a comparison with the original texts in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. This Bible includes features to facilitate its approach by an interested reader, including woodblock illustrations and marginal annotations.
There were 140 editions of the Geneva Bible, the last done 1644 C.E. Because it was printed in a smaller format and sold for a lower price, it remained widely used even after the English translation of the Bible known as the “Bishop’s Bible” was published with the endorsement of the Church of England in 1568 C.E.
Christopher Barker printed this Bible (using the Geneva Bible text) as part of his duties as printer to the King. His son, Robert, who inherited both his shop and responsibilities to the King, printed the Bible now known as the King James Authorized version in 1611 C.E. Pages from a Book of Common Prayer intended to help a private reader use the Bible to develop ethically have been bound into the beginning of this volume.