Scenic City News
Vol. 52, Number 4
Sunday, January 23, 1983
Rare Bible Collection Displayed
A rare collection of more than 1,250 volumes of bibles, printed in many languages, is now on display at the Library (third floor), according to Donald Pearce, UMD library director. The collection, knows as the Ramseyer-Northern Bible Society museum collection, includes three Torah scrolls (two in leather and one parchment) dating from the 13th century, two manuscript copies of the Koran, copies of the Cranmer bible (1541), a first edition of the King James bible (1611), a 1490 edition of Thomas Aquina's Opuscula, a 1545 annotated edition of the Latin Vulgate bible, and many others.
Bible history is transformed into a fascinating story through the display. The Old Testament, as it is now accepted, began to take form early in the history of the Hebrews, probably before the 4th century B.C. Translation from the early Hebrew into Greek and Latin presented many problems, with corrections duly noted in the margins. And there was much church opposition to new editions, Conversion of the bible into English was fraught with danger because of official Church opposition. Tyndale's version of the bible, of which a facsimile of the original is on display, was done from the Greek and Hebrew. However, he found that it could not be printed in England and so he moved to Cologne and them Worms. When printed, his bible was burned, and so was he as a heretic in 1536. Although Tyndale was martyred, his version formed the basis for the later official versions such as the Cranmer, Matthew and Bishop's bibles.
In photo above, James Vileta, UMD Archivist, is shown with the 1541 Cranmer bible, titled The Gofpel.
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