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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Bibles: An Illustrated History from Papyrus to Print
Hamel, Christopher de

Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2011 pp. iv + 170. $19.00


Description: A unique visual history of the world’s best-selling book of all time, Bibles provides a rich snapshot of the biblical bookmaking tradition through images from fifty rare and important Bibles. As the captivating and colorful images collected here reveal, in many ways the history of the Bible mirrors the history of the book and publishing. Presented chronologically, the Bibles provide a fascinating look into the book making techniques and characteristics of their time. From the fragile papyrus fragments of the ancient world to medieval illuminated manuscripts and glorious modern printed editions, each image is accompanied by a caption which explains its particular significance. In addition, each chapter includes a short introduction that contextualizes each book within its time period. Featuring many unusual examples—some of which have never been illustrated in print before—Bibles includes many of the great biblical texts of the Eastern and Western traditions, including the Magdalen Papyrus, the Laudian Acts, the Anglo-Saxon Exodus, St Margaret’s Gospel-book, the Douce Apocalypse, the Bible Moralisée (MS. Bodley 270b), the Kennicott Bible, the Guttenberg Bible, and the King James Bible. Drawing exclusively from one of the finest collections of Bibles in the world, which is held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, this book tells the remarkable story of the development of the Bible across media, language, and provenance.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

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Review by Claudia Setzer
Published 11/4/2012
Citation: Claudia Setzer, review of Christopher de Hamel, Bibles: An Illustrated History from Papyrus to Print, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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