Thursday, 9 June 2011


I went across to Souhwell Minster today with a friend to have a look at the Exhibition of Bibles they had mounted in celebration of the King James Bible anniversary. 

One of the facts that surprised me was that there was a version in Old English in the 11th Century.  I have to admit my knowledge of this period is not extensive.  According to the information, this was superseded by the use of Norman Latin which of course restricted the reading of bibles to the better educated and rich part of the population.  About the same time there was a dialect version in what is now the East Midlands area.

I always find it very moving to look at hand written bibles with their beautiful script and the early printed versions.  With our days of digital print on demand the times of typesetting are long gone but the care and hard work the early copies demanded are incredible.  There was one copy and on the pages open to view, there was English, Greek and Hebrew set.  Very skilled work.

But publishers, shall we say,'shortcuts' were evident in one bible on show.  Open at one of St Paul's epistles, it was pointed out to us that the capital P at the top of the page had a rather inappropriate picture of a lady less than fully clothed turning into a tree.

Unsure of his profits the printer was cutting his costs by using an already made capital.

It's a while since I've been to the Minster and I'd forgotten how beautiful it is in there. 

No comments:

Post a Comment