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Rare Bibles: Biblia Sacra

The Styberg Library has a special collection of rare Bibles. This guide features some of the ones that are within the collection.


The rare Bible display features a facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible in Latin (Vulgate) published in 1961 by Pageant Books (New York). In honor of Earth Month and the Center for Ecological Regeneration, the first volume of this two-volume folio set is open to the text of Genesis 1, which includes colorful marginal illustrations depicting the six days of creation. All are welcome to stop in and view the typographical and illustrative details of this work well as consider the interpretation of the Genesis text with respect to the care and protection of God’s creation. This Bible will be on display from April to June 2023.

Biblia Sacra Display

*Click on the image to open a larger version.

“This facsimile edition of the Gutenberg Bible has been published in the year 1961 by Pageant Books...This is the first Gutenberg facsimile ever printed in the United States and only the second in the world. The reproduction derives from the Insel Verlag edition which was based on the copy in the Koniglichen Bibliothek in Berlin and the copy in the Standischen Landesbibliothek in Fulda, considered by authorities to be the most beautifully illuminated of the...copies known to exist. The text pages have been printed by lithography and the illuminated pages by sheet-fed gravure. The paper used is 100 per cent rag content made especially for this book. The edition has been hand bound in two volumes and is limited to 1000 numbered sets....” -- From the Colophon

A Moment to Reflect

Biblia Sacra Display

The Gutenberg Bible  Reduced Facsimile New York: Brussel & Brussel, 1968   Consisting of Three Volumes  (Two Old Testament & One New Testament)  The original Gutenberg Bible was printed in Mainz [Germany] ca. 1454-55 by Johannes Gutenberg. Famous for being one of the first major books printed using moveable metal type, it contains the Latin version of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament.  The volume on display here is volume one of the two Old Testament facsimile volumes. It is open to the Latin text of the creation story in Genesis 1, printed in Gothic type. The six days of creation are illustrated down the left margin, and the decorative illustrations in the bottom and right margins depict a variety of plants and birds. Filigree decoration is also evident down the center of the page. The beauty of God’s creation is reflected in the beauty of these illustrations.

The Original Gutenberg Bibles

"As of 2009, 49 Gutenberg Bibles are known to exist, but of these only 21 are complete. Others have pages or even whole volumes missing. In addition, there are a substantial number of fragments, some as small as individual leaves, which are likely to represent about another 16 copies."