The Giant Bible of Mainz
The Giant Bible is composed of 459 vellum skin leaves, each measuring 22 x 16 inches. The pages are fully ruled in faint brown ink, which served as guides for the scribe as he wrote out the text. The text is organized in two columns of sixty lines per page, and the letter forms employed by the scribe are large, erect, laterally compressed black letter forms. These forms were common in manuscripts produced in the middle and lower regions of the Rhine River but was not exclusive to Mainz. Two tones of black ink were used for the text, and the chapter headings and paragraphs were highlighted with alternating red and blue ink in both volumes.
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The Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible is the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type. It is therefore a monument that marks a turning point in the art of bookmaking and consequently in the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world. Gutenberg’s invention of the mechanical printing press made it possible for the accumulated knowledge of the human race to become the common property of every person who knew how to read—an immense forward step in the emancipation of the human mind.
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With 1,500 editions of the Bible in more than 150 languages, the Bible Collection at the Library of Congress offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the Bible’s transformation over 800 years. Read more about Other Bibles »