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Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg bible owned by the US Library of Congress

The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible) is a print of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible that was printed by its namesake, Johann Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany using moveable type, mass-produced starting on February 23, 1455. This Bible is the most famous incunabulum and its production marked the beginning of the mass production of books in the West.

A very complete copy comprises 1282 pages; most were bound in two volumes.

It is believed that about 180 copies of the Bible were produced, 40 on vellum and 140 on paper, a number which boggled minds in societies which, from time immemorial, had to produce copies of written works labouriously by hand. Gutenberg produced these Bibles (which were printed, then rubricated and illuminated by hand), over a period of three years, the time it would have taken to produce one copy in a Scriptorium. Because of the hand illumination, each copy is unique. Two-color printing techniques, which would have eliminated the need for rubrication, were developed later. As of 2003, the number of known extant Gutenberg Bibles includes 11 complete copies on vellum, one copy of the New Testament only on vellum, and 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper. The country with the most copies is Germany, which has 12. Five cities have two copies – Paris, London, New York, Leipzig, and Moscow.

Locations of Gutenberg Bibles

Austria (3)

  • ├ľsterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna

Belgium (3)

  • Bibliotheque Universitaire in Mons

France (3)

  • Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris (One of three "perfect vellum" copies)
  • Bibliotheque Mazarine in Paris
  • Bibliotheque Municipale in St. Omer

Germany (12)

  • Gutenberg Museum in Mainz
  • Landesbibliothek in Fulda
  • Karl Marx Universitatsbibliothek in Leipzig
  • Deutsches Buch- und Schrift Museum der Deutschen B├╝cherei in Leipzig
  • Universitatsbibliothek in Gottingen
  • Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin
  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich
  • Stadt- und Universitatsbibliothek in Frankfurt-am-Main
  • Hofbibliothek in Aschaffenburg
  • Wurttembergische Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart
  • Stadtbibliothek in Trier
  • Landesbibliothek in Kassel

Italy/Vatical Republic (1)

  • Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Japan (1)

  • Keio University Library in Tokyo

Poland (1)

  • Biblioteka Seminarium Duchownego in Pelpin

Portugal (1)

  • Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon

Russia (2)

  • Russian National Library in Moscow
  • Lomonosow University Library in Moscow

Spain (2)

  • Biblioteca Universitaria y Provincial in Seville
  • Biblioteca Publica Provincial in Burgos

Switzerland (1)

  • Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny

United Kingdom (7)

United States of America (9)

External links

Detail showing both rubrication and illumination
Another Gutenberg bible

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