"THE MOST CELEBRATED BOOK IN THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD": FINE FACSIMILE OF THE 1611 FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE MAGNIFICENT KING JAMES BIBLE
(BIBLE). The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties speciall Comandement. Appointed to be read in Churches. Indianapolis: Timeless Treasures, circa 2000. Thick folio (11 by 16-1/2 by 5 inches), period-style full plain brown calf over wooden boards, front cover blind-stamped with the arms of King James I, raised bands, marbled endpapers. Housed in publisher's slipcase. $3200.
Fine facsimile edition of the very rare first impression of the King James Bible, "an unsurpassed monument of English prose and poetry," number 410 of only 1611 copies.
The publication of the King James Bible "marked an epoch, in the proper sense of that term, in the history of the English Bible. It was a point at which one period ended and another began. It ended a long series of attempts to produce a satisfactory translation of the Scriptures into English. It began a period of supremacy, unassailed after the first 30 years of its existence and unquestioned for 200 years thereafter… It gave to the English nation, and eventually to all English-speaking peoples throughout the world, a version of the Scriptures as faithful and accurate as the scholarship of the day admitted, and expressed in prose so stately and splendid as to make it one of the great classics of the English tongue" (British Museum Bible Exhibition, 1911). Macaulay said of it, "If everything else in our language should perish, [it] alone would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power" (PMM 114). "It has been compared to a great English cathedral: not the work of one period alone, but due to the devoted creation of several generations. It was indeed fortunate that this majestic translation was achieved during one of the most creative periods in English literature, when the English language as we know it was growing out of medieval usage into prose that rolls like a great cathedral organ played by a master musician… No book has had greater influence on the English language or on the English character" (Great Books and Book Collectors, 109-10). This is a facsimile reproduction of the first impression of the 1611 first edition of the King James Bible, commonly known as the "He" Bible due to the printing of Ruth 3:15 ("and he went into the city"), corrected in the "She" Bible to "and she went into the city." Beautifully printed in two-columns of black letter type, with finely copper-engraved architectural general title page and elaborately wood-engraved New Testament title page, decorative woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces throughout, here reproduced through offset lithography on laid paper made by Fox River Paper Mill. The binding "is a faithful replica of an original binding," featuring the blind-stamped coat of arms of King James I on the front cover.