Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures

An Exhibit of Historic Bible-related Materials from the Collection of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library

October 1998

Because biblical studies has been at the center of the curriculum of the Harvard Divinity School since its beginning, the library has also throughout its history acquired extensively in this area. Choosing materials from the thousands available in the library for a historical exhibit such as this has been a daunting task. The themes of reading, translating, studying, interpreting, and appreciating "the incomparable treasure of the Holy Scriptures" have led to these selections.

The exhibit takes its name from the poem "Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures," which appears beginning with 1578 in the preliminary matter of most Geneva Bibles.

Here is the Spring where waters flowe,
to quench our heate of sinne:

Here is the Tree where trueth doth grow,
to leade our lives therein:

Here is the Judge that stints the strife,
when mens devices faile:

Here is the Bread that feeds the life,
that death cannot assaile.

The tidings of Salvation deare,
comes to our eares from hence:

The fortresse of our Faith is here,
and shielde of our defence.

Then be not like the hogge that hath
a pearle at his desire,

And takes more pleasure of the trough
and wallowing in the mire.

Reade not this booke, in any case,
but with a single eye:

Reade not but first desire Gods grace,
to understand thereby.

Pray still in faith with this respect,
to fructifie therein,

That knowledge may bring this effect,
to mortifie thy sinne.

Then happy thou in all thy life,
what so to thee befalles:

Yea, double happie shalt thou be,
when God by death thee calles.

—Anonymous

This exhibit was originally prepared for display in October 1998 by Clifford Wunderlich, along with Russell Pollard and Charles Willard, and with the assistance of other staff in the Andover-Harvard Library, especially Doris Freitag and Timothy Driscoll, and Thomas Jenkins of the Harvard Divinity School's Office of Development and Public Affairs. Special thanks go to Pamela Matz, Curator of Exhibits in the Harvard College Library, for some last minute help in setting up the exhibit. The online version was prepared by Clifford Wunderlich. Please direct corrections, comments, etc. to him.

The Geneva Bible

Beginning of the New Testament:Beginning of the New Testament

The Bible. London, Robert Barker, 1608. 2pl. 1-435 [i.e. 434] l., 4l., 441-554, [1-82] l. 22 cm. [R.B.R. 306.08 1608b]

During the religious persecutions of Queen Mary's reign, English Puritans sought refuge in Geneva, Switzerland, and wanted to produce an annotated Bible for the use of their families while in exile. In 1557, William Whittingham completed a New Testament, which included copious notes in the margins. It used Roman type instead of the traditional "Black Letter" for the first time in English Scriptures. Also for the first time, it had numbered verse divisions, following earlier French, Latin, Greek and Hebrew editions.

With this Testament off the press in Geneva, Whittingham, aided by Anthony Gilby and Thomas Sampson (all trained at Cambridge or Oxford), plunged into producing a similar text of the whole Bible, continuing the translation tradition begun by William Tyndale in 1525. They used the "Great Bible" translated by Miles Coverdale in 1539 as a point of departure. Corrections were based on improved Latin and Greek texts; elaborate notes covered historical or geographical explanations as well as moral lessons. Financed by the English congregation at Geneva, the Bible was first printed by Rowland Hall of Geneva in 1560. Royal permission was obtained from Queen Elizabeth for its printing in England. In the eighty-four years of its publication, some 140 editions of the Geneva Bible or New Testament were produced.

For three generations, this Bible held sway in the homes of the English people. While Great Bibles and Bishops' Bibles were read out in the churches, Geneva Bibles were read by the firesides, well before and after the King James version was issued. The Geneva Bible was the Bible of William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, and Oliver Cromwell. This is the version that Pilgrims and Puritans brought with them to America.

The Geneva version is often referred to as the "Breeches Bible" because of use of the word "breeches" in Gen. 3:7:

Then the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sowed figge tree leaves together, and made themselves breeches.

Additional images:

List of Biblical BooksList of Biblical Books

Beginning of the New TestamentBeginning of the New Testament

Sources of information:

Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan. The Reformation of the Bible: The Bible of the Reformation. Catalog of the exhibition by Valerie R. Hotchkiss and David Price. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996.

The Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge: University Press, 1963-70.

Biblical Genealogies

The First GenerationThe First Generation

Speed, John, 1552?-1629. The Genealogies Recorded in the Sacred Scriptures: According to Every Family and Tribe, with the Line of our Saviour Iesus Christ, Observed from Adam to the Blessed Virgin Mary. [S.l.: s.n., 16--?] 1], 34, [4] p.: geneal. tables, map; 23 cm. [Safe 306.11 1635]

John Speed (1552?-1629) abandoned his trade as a tailor to engage in mapmaking and writing history. His History of Great Britain (1611) is sometimes described as the first "modern" British history.

His Genealogies Recorded in the Sacred Scriptures was also first published in 1611. It includes over thirty charts, which give a visual representation to genealogies recorded in the Bible, beginning with the descendants of Adam and Eve shown here. This work was quite popular. By 1640 there were no less than thirty-three editions of this work, many of them being published with various editions of the Bible.

Additional images:

Descendants of ShemDescendants of Shem

Descendants of Ham: Descendants of Ham Descendants of Ham

Descendants of JapethDescendants of Japeth

Speed's Genealogies:Title Page: Title Page Title Page

 

Source of information:

The Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to 1900. Founded in 1882 by George Smith; edited by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-22.

The First Polyglot Bible

Beginning of ExodusBeginning of the Book of Exodus

 

Biblia Polyglotta. Academia Complutensi: Arnaldi Guillelmi de Brocario, 1514-1517. 6 v.: ill., front.; 39 cm. [Safe folio 303 1514] 

The "Complutensian Polyglot" contains the editio princeps of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) and the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament (colophon dated 10 January 1514). Cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros, founder of the trilingual university in Alcalá (Complutum, in Latin), supported the work of Hebrew and Greek scholars under the leadership of Diego López de Zuñiga (d. 1531) by providing manuscripts he had borrowed from Venice and the Vatican or purchased. Ximénez's death and the difficulty in obtaining papal approval delayed official publication of the work until 1521/22, even though all six volumes had been printed by 1517.

In the prefatory letter (composed in 1517), Ximénez diplomatically asserted that the "meaning of heavenly wisdom" can emerge from any language. Nonetheless, after translation, Scripture remains full of meanings, "which are not able to be understood in any way other than from the very fount of the original language."

There are four volumes of the Old Testament, with Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation in the center of the page between the Hebrew text and the Septuagint; Targum Onkelos (an Aramaic translation) is printed for the Pentateuch along with a Latin translation. The fifth volume is the New Testament in Greek, and the sixth includes various indices and study aids.

Additional image:

Title PageTitle Page

Sources of information:

Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan. The Reformation of the Bible: The Bible of the Reformation. Catalog of the exhibition by Valerie R. Hotchkiss and David Price. New Haven: Yale University Press, c1996.

The Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge: University Press, 1963-1970.

Map Showing the Dispersal of the Children of Noah

Inserted in: Broughton, Hugh. A Concent of Scripture. [London: G. Simson and W. White?, 1588] [76] p., [5] leaves of plates (some folded): ill., map; 22 cm. (4to) [R.B.R. folio 343 B875co 1590]

Hebrew scholar and preacher of Puritan doctrine Hugh Broughton (1549-1612) published this work in 1588 to argue certain aspects of biblical chronology. Attacked publicly by scholars at both Cambridge and Oxford, he began weekly lectures in London in his own defense. He left England soon afterwards and traveled continental Europe for most of the rest of his life, disputing with Roman Catholics, Jews, and Protestants who did not share his views. He expected to be appointed by King James in 1604 to the committee he assembled to translate the Bible, but he was not; when their work was done, he bitterly attacked it.

This copy was owned by Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829), son of Edward Holyoke, President of Harvard 1737-1769. He was a physician and a founder of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He writes on the fly-leaf that he thinks this book belonged to his great-grandfather, Edward Holyoke, who migrated to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1636/37. The copy has blank pages inserted near the beginning and has been annotated with handwritten notes. The map was probably not part of the book as published, but may have come from a Broughton tract of 1606 published in Amsterdam, which contained the map, uncolored. It appears to be based on a 1597 map by Broughton’s friend Jodocus Hondius, one of the first uses of a Mercator projection.

Additional images:

Marks of Ownership (Detail): Marks of Ownership (Detail)Marks of Ownership (Detail)

Handwritten Notes (1)Handwritten Notes (1)

Handwritten Notes (2)Handwritten Notes (2)

Title PageTitle Page

Sources of information:

The Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to 1900. Founded in 1882 by George Smith; edited by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-22.

Dictionary of American Biography. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1928-58.

Sibley, John Langdon. Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cambridge: Charles William Sever, University Bookstore, 1873-

See Also

The "Gutenberg Bible" of Modern Syriac

Yulpane d-men hemezmane d-alaha. [Lessons from the Words of God]. Urmia, Persia: [American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions], 1841. 50 p.; 19 cm. [R.B.R. tract BS399.S99 A44 1841]

This small booklet, translated "Lessons from the Words of God," was the first ever printed in modern Syriac or Assyrian. It was printed at the press of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions at Urmia, Persia, in 1841, under the direction of Edward Breath, a missionary and printer. Justin Perkins was, at the time, the head of this early Protestant mission to the Nestorians.

Perkins described in his diary the moment when the first sheet came off the press:

"March 13 [1841]. The proof-sheet of our first tract in the Nestorian language was brought into my study for correction. This is indeed the first sheet, ever printed in that language and character. As it was laid upon my table, before our translators, priests Abraham and Dunka, they were struck with mute astonishment and rapture, to see their language in print; ... As soon as recovery from their surprise allowed them utterance, 'it is time to give glory to God,' they mutually exclaimed, 'that our eyes are permitted to behold the commencement of printing books for our people!' "

The book contains the Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments, and Bible texts collected on the subjects of lying, theft, swearing, drunkenness, repentance, the new creation, humility, and the Day of Judgment, and (on the back cover) Proverbs 28.9 and Luke 6.47.

It came to the Andover Theological Seminary in 1900 as part of the estate of Isaac H. Hall (1837-96), who was a scholar and collector of Syriac books and manuscripts. It came here when the Andover Seminary Library affiliated with that of the Harvard Divinity School in 1911/12. This is the only known copy.
Dr. J. F. Coakley, Harvard University, found it in the open stacks here in the library and has since published a brief article, "The First Modern Assyrian Printed Book," in the Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society (v. 9, no. 2, 1995), and also included it in his article "Edward Breath and the Typography of Syriac," in the Harvard Library Bulletin (n.s., v. 6, no. 4, Winter, 1995).

Additional image:

Page 1Page 1

Bible Translations

The library has substantial holdings of titles produced by mission presses, including many biblical titles in non-Roman scripts. Many of these are from the collection of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).

 

Tamil

Bible. Tamil. 1840. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments in the Tamil Language = Cattiyavetam ... palaiya erpatum putiya erpatum atanakiyirukkinaran. Madras: Printed for the Madras Auxiliary Bible Society, at the American Mission Press, 1840. 10 pts., only part 2 paged; 22 cm. [OLD DIV 307 Tamil 1840]

Although the New Testament was first translated and published in Tamil (a major language of South India) in 1715 (parts of the Old Testament soon followed), this is the first edition of the Tamil Bible complete in one volume. It uses the Old Testament translation of J. P. Fabricius of the S.P.C.K. (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) mission in Madras and the New Testament translation prepared by C. T. E. Rhenius of the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society) mission in Madras and Tinnevelly.

Additional image:

Page 1Page 1

Source of information:
Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-11.

Mohawk

Bible. N.T. John. Mohawk. 1818. The Gospel According to Saint John: In the Mohawk Language = Nene karighyoston tsinihorighhoten ne Saint John. New York: Printed for the American Bible Society: D. Fanshaw, printer, 1818. 116, 116, [1] p.; 15 cm. [Safe 816.9 Am. Mohawk 1818]

The translator was John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen), a Cherokee by birth, who had lived from infancy among the Mohawk. This edition is a reprint of the edition first published in London in 1804. It is the first translation into Mohawk of a biblical book printed in the United States.

Additional image:

John 1:1-9 in Mohawk and EnglishJohn 1:1-9 in Mohawk and English

Source of information:
Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-11.

Chinese

Bible. N.T. Luke. Chinese. 1811. Sheng Lu-chia shih chuan fu yin shu. [Canton or Macao: s.n., 1811 (or 1812?)]. 80 double leaves ; 28 cm. [R.B.R. folio BS315.C57 L8 1812]

Robert MorrisonRobert MorrisonAlthough the Jesuits, who began missionary work in China in the sixteenth century, had translated portions of the Bible, it was not until 1810 that Protestant missionaries began to translate and publish systematically the Scriptures into Chinese. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the first Protestant missionary to China, was a British Presbyterian appointed by the London Missionary Society. Because of the strict laws in China regulating foreigners, he was also appointed as a translator for the East India Company. This translation of the Gospel of Luke was published in late 1811 (or 1812?). Like his 1810 translation of the Book of Acts, it was printed from woodblocks rather than moveable metal type. Probably only 100 copies of Luke were printed. On receiving a copy of this Gospel, the British and Foreign Bible Society made a grant of £500 to Morrison as an incentive to continue his work.

The fine binding has been identified as the work of John Roulstone (1777 or 1778-1826), a Boston bookbinder.

Additional views:

Text, P. 1Text, P. 1

Presentation to the Andover Library from Dr. StoughtonPresentation to the Andover Library from Dr. Stoughton

Sources of information:
Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-11.
Memoirs of the Life and Labours Robert Morrison. Compiled by his widow; with critical notices of his Chinese works, by Samuel Kidd, and an appendix containing original documents. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, and Longmans, 1839.
French, Hannah D. Bookbinding in Early America: Seven Essays on Masters and Methods. With catalogues of bookbinding tools prepared by Willman Spawn. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1986.

From the Library of William Ellery Channing

Blackwall, Anthony, 1674-1730. The Sacred Classics Defended and Illustrated, or, An essay Humbly Offer'd Towards Proving the Purity, Propriety, and True Eloquence of the Writers of the New Testament. 3rd ed., corr. London: Printed for C. Rivington, 1737. 2 v.; 17 cm. [Channing Library BS2340.B53 1737]

The author of this work, Anthony Blackwall (1674-1730), was a classical scholar, educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He served as headmaster of the Derby School and later as headmaster of the grammar school of Market Bosworth. His other works include Introduction to the Classics and a Latin grammar. This work discusses the relationship of the Greek of the New Testament to classical Greek.

William Ellery ChanningWilliam Ellery ChanningThis copy was once part of the library of William Ellery Channing (1780-1842). Born in Newport, R.I., and educated at Harvard (1798), he was ordained minister of the Federal St. Church in Boston (the congregation now called Arlington St. Church) at age twenty-three and served there until his death. His sermon at the ordination of Jared Sparks in 1819 earned him the name "the apostle of Unitarianism." He founded the Berry St. Conference of Ministers in 1820 and was a life member of the American Unitarian Association.

Additional images:

BookplateBookplate

Frontispiece PortraitFrontispiece Portrait

Sources of information:

The Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to 1900. Founded in 1882 by George Smith; edited by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-22.

Dictionary of American Biography. "Under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies." New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1928-58.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F.L. Cross. 3rd ed. edited by E.A. Livingstone. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

The Boston Earthquake of 1727

La Sainte Bible: qui contient l'Ancien et le Nouveau Testament. C'est à dire, l'ancienne et la nouvelle alliance. Le tout reveu & conféré sur les Textes Hébreux & Grecs, par les pasteurs & professeurs de l'Eglise de Genève... A Amsterdam: Dans l'Imprimerie de P. & J. Blaeu, 1687. [R.B.R. BS230 1687]

Although there had been a number of French Bible translations, it was the one published first in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1588, that became known as the standard French translation. Theodore Beza (1519-1605), the great Protestant theologian and successor to the reformer John Calvin (1509-64) as leader of the church in Geneva, headed a committee of pastors that translated and published this edition.

This copy appears to have been owned by Andrew Sigourney (d. 1748), a member of an important French Huguenot family that immigrated to Massachusetts in 1686. Its other owners included his descendants, Wirt Dexter (1832-90), a prominent Chicago lawyer, and the industrialist, inventor, and great Harvard benefactor, Gordon McKay (1821-1903). McKay records discovering an interesting handwritten record in this copy:

"Memo. This page had a piece of thick paper pasted over it to conceal the writing below. On the 24 May 1891 I wet the paper and took it. I see nothing in the writing that should have been covered. Gordon McKay

"A. Sigourney's Memoranda
"Boston Octob. the 29, 1727 being on the Lords Day at Evening about Ten and Eleven a Clock at Night their [sic] was an Earth Quake not verey terrible but the 2d and Third Exceeding Terrible So that Everey Inhabitant in the Town thought their houses would Fall upon their heads & their was a Chille thrown down to the Ground their [sic] was another about 5 a Clock in the morning and Reached an 100 miles in the Country ..."

Below this notice is a record of the Boston earthquake of 1744.

Additional images:

Title PageTitle Page

Bookplate of Wirt DexterBookplate of Wirt Dexter

Front EndpaperFront Endpaper

Sainte Bible (1687): Sigourney DescendantsSigourney Descendants

Sources of information:

Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-1911.

Sigourney, Henry Howell Williams. Genealogy of the Sigourney family. Boston; Cambridge: James Munroe and Co., 1857.

Dictionary of American Biography. "Under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies." New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1928-58.

The Cambridge History of the Bible. Cambridge: University Press, 1963-70.

An Early Puritan Commentary

Cotton, John, 1584-1652. A Practical Commentary: Or an Exposition with Observations, Reasons, and Uses upon the First Epistle Generall of John. 2d ed. much corrected and inlarged, with the addition of an alphabeticall table not in the former edition. London: Printed by M. S. for Thomas Parkhurst, 1658. 4 p. l., 431, [6] p. 27 l/2 cm. [R.B.R. folio BS2805.C6 1658]

The author of this work, John Cotton (1584-1652), was born in England and for twenty years served as vicar of St. Botolph's Church, in Boston, Lincolnshire. Because of his Puritan views, he was summoned to appear before the High Court of Commission in 1632. Instead of appearing, he resigned and fled England with some of his parishioners to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The naming of its principal city "Boston" is often said to be in honor of him, although the name had been adopted in 1630. As "Teacher" in Boston's First Church, he was a leading figure in the colony. He was the author of The Way of the Churches of Christ in New England, (1645), one of the earliest descriptions of New England Congregationalism. His daughter Maria (1642-1714) married Increase Mather (1639-1723) and was the mother of Cotton Mather (1663-1728).

This book of expository sermons was first published in 1656, after his death, but the sermons appear to have been first preached while he was still in England.

This copy was owned by some of the author's descendants. The signatures and dates of ownership place it in the family of his grandson John Cotton (1658-1710), son of Seaborn Cotton (1633-86), both ministers of the church in Hampton, New Hampshire. John Cotton wrote the Latin form of his name in the book. His daughter Anne's ownership of 1734 dates to the death of her brother-in-law, the Rev. Nathaniel Gookin (a quarter of his estate consisted of books), also a minister in the church in Hampton. The ownership of John's son Thomas (1695-1770) is dated to the death of Anne (1697-1745).

Additional images:

Title Page VersoTitle Page Verso

To the Reader, p. 1To the Reader, p. 1

To the Reader, p. 2To the Reader, p. 2

 

Sources of information:

Dictionary of American Biography. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1928-58.

Noyes, Sybil, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub. Co. 1972. (Reprint of the 1928-39 ed.)

Ziff, Larzer. The Career of John Cotton: Puritanism and the American Experience. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1962.

From the Papers of Caspar René Gregory

Caspar René Gregory (1846-1917) was born in Philadelphia and studied at the University of Pennsylvania, at Princeton Theological Seminary, and at the University of Leipzig. Declining an appointment to Johns Hopkins in 1885, he stayed at Leipzig, where he was named a full professor in 1889. As a text critic, his scholarly work was in analyzing the textual variations in the many early manuscripts and early translations of the New Testament in an effort to recreate the original text. Working in a time when hundreds of manuscripts were being discovered, published, and analyzed, he brought a sense of order and structure to all the differing systems of identification. His classification system of these manuscripts (Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments,1908) is the system in use throughout the scholarly world today.

Close to his interest in analyzing the text was his interest in understanding the history of the "canon," the list of the books regarded as Scripture. In the early years of the Christian church, different regions preferred different collections of apostolic writings for their guidance and edification. Gradually the need for an authoritative list emerged. For centuries that list was only known from a letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, dating to 367. In 1740, however, Ludovico Antonio Muratori published a manuscript from the Ambrosian Library in Milan that included what has come to be called the Muratorian Canon. The list was thought to date from the second century, although that dating has been challenged. But the list is controversial. It includes the Gospels and many of the Epistles now in our Bible, but it does not mention Hebrews, James, or Peter and identifies two additional Epistles as being falsely attributed to Paul.

Gregory's papers are part of the library's extensive collection of manuscript and archives. On display is the transcription of the first leaf of the Muratorian Canon and Gregory's own notes on it from a seminar series.

Additional images:

Gregory's Notes on the Muratonian CanonGregory's Notes on the Muratonian Canon

Transcription of the First Leaf of the Muratorian CanonTranscription of the First Leaf of the Muratorian Canon

Sources of information:

Frankfurth, Hermann. "Caspar René Gregory: ein Bekenner." Zeitwende 2 (1926.2) 113-136.

Friedrich, Karl Josef. Volksfreund Gregory: Amerikaner, Urchrist, deutscher Kämpfer Leipzig: Leopold Klotz, 1938.

Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament. New York : Oxford University Press, 1987.

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Edited by Samuel Macauley Jackson. New York: Funk and Wagnals, 1909.

Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Dritte Auflage. Tübingen: Mohr, 1958.

From the Library of Friedrich Schleiermacher

Simon, Richard, 1638-1712. Histoire critique du Vieux Testament. Nouvelle edition. A Amsterdam : Pour la Compagnie des Libraires, 1685. [40], 667, [45] p.; 24 cm. (4to) [R.B.R. BS513 .S55 Set A, v. 1]

Biblical scholar Richard Simon (1638-1712) was from 1662 to 1678 a member of the French Oratory (an association of priests involved in the training of seminarians). After extensive studies of oriental languages, he published in 1678 his Histoire critique du Vieux Testament, in which he denied that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch and showed that there were often duplicate accounts of the same incident told with variations of style. These ideas caused his expulsion from the Oratory, but he has long been regarded as the founder of Biblical criticism. In spite of his expulsion, he remained a devout Catholic and continued his writings until his death. The original Paris edition of 1678 was suppressed, and all but a few copies destroyed. This present enlarged edition (also issued by Reinier Leers, Rotterdam, 1685) was disclaimed by Simon, but is believed to have been published under his supervision.

SchleiermacherSchleiermacherThe Library's copy was once in the library of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834). [His stamp appears on the verso of the title page.] Born in Breslau and raised in a Moravian household, he was educated at the University of Halle and ordained a Reformed preacher in Berlin, where he came into contact with the Romantic movement. He taught briefly at Halle and from 1810 was dean of the Theological Faculty at the University of Berlin. His most famous work is Der christliche Glaube (The Christian Faith) in which he defines religion as the feeling of absolute dependence, which finds its purest expression in monotheism.

Additional image:

Friedrich Schleiermacher's Stamp of OwnershipFriedrich Schleiermacher's Stamp of Ownership

Source of information:
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F.L. Cross. 3rd ed. edited by E.A. Livingstone. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.

 

The Woman's Bible

The Woman's Bible. New York, European Publishing Company, 1895-98. 2 v. 23 cm. [R.B.R. HQ1395.W8]

The Woman's Bible is a collection of essays and commentaries on the Bible compiled in 1895 by a committee chaired by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention (the first Woman's Rights Convention held in 1848) and a founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton's purpose was to initiate a critical study of biblical texts that are used to degrade and subject women in order to demonstrate that it is not divine will that humiliates women, but human desire for domination. In "denying divine inspiration for demoralizing ideas," Stanton's committee hoped to exemplify a reverence for a higher Christian "Spirit of all Good."

Additional images:

Part 1, Title PagePart 1, Title Page

Woman's Bible: Preface of Part 1, p. 1Woman's Bible: Preface of Part 1, p. 1

Preface of Part 1, p. 2Preface of Part 1, p. 2

Members of the Revising CommitteeMembers of the Revising Committee

Sources of information:
Boles, Janet K., Diane Long Hoeveler, and Rebecca Bardwell. Historical Dictionary of Feminism. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, c1996.
Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

 

The First Published Bible Translation by a Woman

The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments. Hartford, Conn.: American Pub. Co., 1876. 892, 276 p.; 26 cm. [S.C.R. BS195.S63 1876]

Julia Evelina Smith (1792-1886) was one of the five daughters of Zephaniah Hollister Smith (who left the Congregational ministry after concluding it was against his conscience to receive money for preaching and established a law practice instead) and Hannah Hadassah Hickock (described as "a remarkable woman .. an amateur poet, linguist, mathematician, and astronomer"). In 1869, Julia and her sister Abby attended a woman suffrage meeting in Hartford and were convinced "the women had truth on their side." They soon began to appear at the town meeting in Glastonbury, Connecticut (their home), to protest their property being taxed "without representation."
In 1876, Julia Smith published at her own expense a translation of the Bible which she had completed nearly twenty years before. Turning to the original Greek New Testament in 1843 to determine the authority for William Miller's prediction of the end of the world, she had concluded that the King James translation was not literal enough. In the next seven years, she translated "word for word, giving no ideas of my own" the Greek New Testament and Septuagint, and, having taught herself Hebrew, the Hebrew Bible.
In 1879, at the age of eighty-seven, she married Amos Andrew Parker, who had sought her acquaintance after reading her Bible, and moved to Hartford, where she lived for the rest of her life. In 1884, she addressed the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. Two years later she died and was buried with her sisters in Glastonbury.

Additional images:

Preface, p. 1Preface, p. 1

Preface p. 2Preface p. 2

Sample PageSample Page

Source of information:
Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

 

The First Hebrew Grammar Published in the New World

Monis, Judah, 1683-1764. Dickdook leshon gnebreet. A Grammar of the Hebrew Tongue, Being an Essay to Bring the Hebrew Grammar into English, to Facilitate the Instruction of All Those Who Are Desirous of Acquiring a Clear Idea of This Primitive Tongue by Their Own Studies ... Boston, N.E., Printed by Jonas Green, and are to be sold by the author at his house in Cambridge, 1735. [2] p. l., 94, [2] p. 24 cm. [Safe 364 Monis]

Born in 1683 in either Italy or Algiers, Monis was educated in the Jewish schools of Leghorn and Amsterdam. Although his occupation was listed as "merchant," he apparently served as a rabbi in Jamaica and in New York. In 1720 he had submitted the draft of this Hebrew grammar to the Harvard Corporation and sought aid in getting it published. Two years later, he was appointed Instructor of Hebrew at Harvard and baptized in the old College Hall. He was granted an honorary A.M. in 1723 (often given incorrectly as 1720). His Hebrew grammar was finally published in 1735, with a special Hebrew type font ordered from England. He retired to Northboro, Mass., in 1760 and died in 1764.

This copy was owned by Elizur Holyoke (1731-1806), who as a student at Harvard (class of 1750) would have studied Hebrew with Monis. Elizur Holyoke was the nephew of Edward Holyoke, President of Harvard from 1737 to 1769. He served as minister of the First Church and Parish in Boxford from 1758 to 1797. He wrote his name on the flyleaf in Hebrew: Elizur followed by qodesh ("holy") + alah ("oak").

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Sources of information:
Karp, Abraham J. From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress. Washington: Library of Congress, 1991.
Sibley, John Langdon. Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cambridge: Charles William Sever, University Bookstore, 1873-.
Silberschlag, Eisig. "Judah Monis in the Light of an Unpublished Manuscript." Proceedings, American Academy for Jewish Research, v. 46-47 (1979-80) ("Jubilee Volume"), p. 495-529.