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Book of the week — Biblia sacra


Geneuae: Apud Petrum Santandreanum, MDLXXXIII. 1583
BS75 1583

A reissue, with a different title page, of an edition of François Estienne, Geneva, 1567. The title page of the New Testament bears the imprint: Ex Officina Francisci Stephanii, 1567. This edition was printed by Pierre Saint-André (1555-1624). François Estienne was the third son of Robert Estienne (1503-1559), a French printer, linguist and classical scholar. In his father’s footsteps, François left France for Geneva as a follower of the Protestant movement. He was active as a printer between 1562 and 1582 in partnership with François Perrin, an associate of John Calvin. François Estienne issued a number of editions of the Bible in Latin and French, as well as works by Calvin. Some scholars believe that François emigrated to Normandy in 1582, where he married Margaret Cave. They had several children, none of whom survived to adulthood.

Robert Estienne’s fourth edition (1551) of the Bible is notable for being the first Latin Bible to be printed with verse numeration. Estienne designed the divisions to help the reader compare the two Latin translations and the Greek translation found in this edition. The fourth edition became the basis for the Geneva Bible. Estienne’s son Henri wrote that his father numbered the divisions while traveling “inter equitandum” from Paris to Lyon. Questionable verse divisions were later ascribed to the jolting of a ride on horseback. Although it is unlikely that Estienne was working while riding, the divisions appear to be hasty and distracted, a situation we can well imagine if Estienne was working on this project while traveling.

Text in double columns, with references, variants and section letters in the margins. Illustrated with two engraved folding maps, one in the New Old Testament and one in the New Testament; two full-page engraved maps; woodcuts of the Tabernacle and other images in Exodus and Kings, with occasional figures elsewhere; decorative headbands, tail-pieces and initial letters. The title-page for the New Testament has the woodcut device of Franciscus Stephanus. University of Utah copy bound in contemporary pigskin over wooden boards, covers with roll-tooled decoration, featuring portraits of the Apostles; brass clasps and catches; old paper spine labels.



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