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Rare Bibles: Erasmus' Paraphrase N.T. Bible (1548-49)

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


A Renaissance humanist who sought to renew humanity through the classic texts of civilization, Erasmus Desiderius translated a new version of the New Testament, utilizing the oldest Greek texts and offering textual and literary criticism throughout. Erasmus’ Paraphrase of the New Testament was first printed in 1548 and 1549, with volume one being published earlier than volume two. Like the Great Bible, Erasmus’ Paraphrase was expected to be found in every English parish. While Erasmus’ version was in Latin, the English translation contains Erasmus’ commentary with the text of the New Testament from the Great Bible. Various parts of this translation are dedicated to French and English monarchs. The first volume contains the Gospels, and the second volume contains the Epistles and other New Testament writings, and we have both volumes of this important work in our collection. The text itself contains various illustrious woodcuts throughout.