Turning the Pages: Gutenberg Bible at the Beinecke Library

Dec 4, 2019

Beinecke Library staff turn the pages of the Gutenberg Bible three or so times in a typical year for conservation to minimize the exposure to light of any page opening. The Gutenberg Bible is on view to the public throughout the year on the Beinecke Library mezzanine in a custom display case.

Visit the library website for information on daily hours: https://beinecke.library.yale.edu In late November 2019, library staff turned to new openings in the Book of Psalms and in the Gospel of Luke. The Gutenberg Bible is the first Western book printed from movable type. The Bible at the Beinecke Library is in two volumes and is one of 21 known surviving complete, perfect copies of the work done by Johann Gutenberg in 1454.

It is available to see online at the Beinecke Library’s digital library at https://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufi… (volume 1) and https://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufi… (volume 2).

In the first volume (on display on the south side of the case), the page openings done in November 2019, are to pages 296v and 297r of that volume, in the Book of Psalms. Close readers of the Latin Vulgate may recognize a familiar text at the bottom right column of 297r: “Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit … ” or, in English, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want … ” Many contemporary readers know this text as the 23rd psalm. In the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible and its Latin translation in the Vulgate, this psalms is 22nd in the Book of Psalms. In the second volume (on display on the north side of the case), the page openings done in November 2019, are to pages 541v and 542r of that volume, the opening of the Gospel of Luke, which includes the Annunciation to Mary and the Nativity of Jesus.

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