“OF CARDINAL IMPORTANCE FOR ITS INFLUENCE ON THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND THOUGHT”: 1589 BARKER EDITION OF THE “BREECHES BIBLE,” MAGNIFICENTLY BOUND
BIBLE. The Bible: Translated according to the Ebrew and Greeke, and Conferred with the Best Translations. London: Deputies of Christopher Barker, 1589. Small quarto, restoration-style full black morocco with elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, red morocco spine label, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt and gauffered.
Handsome Gothic text edition of the Geneva (or “Breeches”) Bible—the important translation that shaped Protestant piety for some five decades—illustrated with three woodcut title pages, printed by the prolific and prosperous publisher Christopher Barker. A magnificently bound complete copy with a contemporary edition of the venerable Book of Common Prayer.
Upon Queen Mary’s accession in 1553, “publication of the English Bible ceased in England. Many Protestants who fled to the Continent were attracted to Calvin’s Geneva. Among these exiles were eminent English Bible scholars who began work on a new translation” (The Bible: 100 Landmarks 62). First published in 1560, the Geneva Bible—often called the “Breeches Bible” for its unique rendering of Genesis 3:7—was “more scholarly than any previous translation… [It] achieved immediate popularity and exerted an extremely powerful influence… The Geneva Version included prefaces, maps and tables; and for the first time in an English Bible the verses were divided and numbered… It has been more properly called the Elizabethan family Bible, since it was this version which was the first to enter the English home” (PMM 83). “It became the textus receptus for the Puritan element in England. It was read by Shakespeare, Bunyan and the soldiers of the Civil War, and is thus of cardinal importance for its influence on the English language, literature and thought” (Great Books and Book Collectors, 105-8). Includes Apocrypha. Bound with concordances and contemporary editions of the Book of Common Prayer and Sternhold and Hopkins’ metrical psalter at rear. With elaborate woodcut title pages, initials and tailpieces. Prayer book without title page and first leaf, but collates as Griffiths 1590:2 (STC 16314a.5). Metrical psalter without leaf [G8], a blank. Darlow & Moule 154. Herbert 200. STC 2151. See Rumball-Petre 96; Bible in the Lilly Library 37. Occasional old ink marginalia. Leaf [E8] of prayer book rebacked, partly obscuring old owner annotations.
Scattered light soiling; mild marginal dampstaining to concordances, prayer book and metrical psalter. Psalter trimmed close. Occasional minor marginal paper loss, occasional small paper restoration; archival restoration to versos of first two leaves of prayer book, final leaf of psalter. Stunning restoration-style binding fine.