1545 · Lutetiae
This is Robert Estiennes first printing of the Zurich Bible — i.e., the Latin text as presented in the Froschauer 1543 printing that first brought together => the Zurich reformers Old Testament and Apocrypha as prepared with apparatus, prefaces, and commentary by Jud, Bibliander, and Pellikan, and a revised version of the New Testament of Erasmus — with Estienne pairing them, for the first time, with a printing of the Latin Vulgate versions set in a parallel column for comparison.
This choice of texts in itself was a statement; and, according to Darlow and Moule, Estienne was more than their printer here: "The margins contain notes which profess to be drawn from memoranda made by friends of the editor during the lectures of F. Vatablus . . . , but they appear to be coloured — to some extent at least — by the religious opinions of R. Stephanus himself. Some of these notes had already appeared, together with a selection of variant readings, in a quarto edition of the Pentateuch printed by R. Stephanus in 1541."
The volume's title-page shows the simple all-caps word "Biblia" printed within a decorative woodcut frame below which is a version of the Estienne printer's device. The text includes the Apocrypha and Psalms at the end of the New Testament; the inner margin contains subject headings, references, and variants, while the outer margin provides the above-mentioned notes. The edition, in octavo, was Estienne's second venture only at producing a Bible in that format. => This copy is lightly ruled in red throughout.
Binding: 17th-century limp vellum with slightly yapp edges and evidence of ties (now perished), covers ruled in gilt with fleur-de-lis corner devices to form a frame for a gilt center device; spine with gilt rolls and center devices. All edges gilt.
Provenance: 18th-century ownership signature on rear pastedown of Margaret Sizer, Berwick on Tweed.
Renouard 62.2; Adams B1036; Darlow & Moule 6127; Schreiber, Estiennes, 83. Binding as above, with hand-inked spine title; vellum soiled and loosening from the text block, with 2.5" split at front joint (outside). Front pastedown largely lost, remnants with pencilled annotations. Title-page and last page dust-soiled. Overall a good++ copy, handsome on shelf and satisfying in hand. (Inventory #: 38197)