Chronological History of the Bible -  16th Century

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1500        The first Spanish Bible.

1501        Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Papal Bull of Pope Alexander VI is published, being the first censorship list of printed books.

1506        Jacobus Sacon of Lyons, France prints his first edition of the Latin Bible.

1512        Epistles and Gospels published in Spanish by Ambrose de Montesian.

1514 -18        First Polyglot Bible, Cardinal Ximenes' Complutensian Polyglot;  Printed at Alcala de Henares by De Brocar;  contains only noble style of Greek employed between the invention of printing and recent times; contains first Hebrew Bible published by Christians, and first separately printed Greek New Testament.

1515         Latin translation 'after the Hebrew' of the Psalter by Felix Pratensis.  (additional info courtesy Dick Wursten of Antwerp, Belgium)

1516         First Polyglot portion of Bible, the Genoa Psalterium (Book of Psalms)

1516          Desiderius Erasmus' (1466-1536) first Greek New Testament.  Printed and published by Froben in Basel; said to have had greater influence on Tyndale than either the Vulgate or Luther.

1517        First Biblia Rabbinica (Venice), printed by Daniel Bomberg, and included the Targum and other traditional explanations.

1518        First separate complete Greek Bible, printed and published in Venice by Aldus Manutius, being the Greek text of the Septuagint, translated by Erasmus.

1522        Latin Paraphrase New Testament (Erasmus)

1522        First Dutch New Testament

1522        Wolff's  Bibliorum

1522        First German New Testament of Martin Luther (Wittenberg)

1524        First Danish New Testament - published in Leipzig, Germany. Translated by Hans Mikkelsen (former mayor of Malmo, Denmark) and Dr. Kristian Winther, from the Vulgate and Luther's German translation; both Mikkelsen and Winther were allies of exiled Danish King Christian II. Mikkelsen's preface defends the King and attacks his foes, which caused the book to be banned in Denmark; later copies omitted the preface and were sent to Denmark, becoming popular; critics of this poorly translated work called it "neither German nor Danish."

1525        In Cologne, Germany, William Tyndale completes the New Testament, translated directly from the Greek into English;  Printed by Peter Quentell in 4to (Quarto), and finished in 8vo (Octavo) at Worms office of Schoeffer;  of 6000 copies printed,  3 copies exist of the original octavo edition (one at Baptist College, Bristol; one at St. Paul's, London; and the third ?);  a mere fragment (31 leaves) of the quarto edition survives in the British Museum;  there were 40 reprinted editions before 1566.  This is the first printed book to be officially banned in England.

1526        First complete Dutch Bible

1526       First Edition of the First complete Swedish translation of the New Testament by Olaus Petri, the great reformer of the Church of Sweden, assisted by Archdeacon and fellow-reformer Laurentius Andreae; translation made from the edited Greek text of Erasmus and Luther's German translation of 1522; printed on the King's Royal printing press in Stockholm, bearing the Swedish national coat-of-arms on the last page of text, and dated MDXXVI, with no translator's name given; by the 1930's only six copies were known to exist.

1526       First separate Latin Septuagint (the oldest translation from Hebrew to Greek of the Old Testament)

1528        First Latin Bible of modern times - translated from the original languages by the Dominican, Sanctus Pagninus, under Papal authority

1528        Robert Stephen's First Latin Bible

1529        First Swiss-German Bible.  The Zurich Bible, a collective effort by Leo Juda and Ulrich Zwingli

1530        The English Parliament declares Henry VIII "ecclesiastically supreme" and he becomes "Protector and Supreme Head of the English Church"

1530        First Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Old Testament) in English

1530        English Psalter

1530        Brucioli's First Italian Testament.  Complete Bible in 1532

1530        Lempereur's French Bible, a translation of the Vulgate by Lefčvre d'Etaples.  (additional info provided by Dick Wursten of Antwerp, Belgium)

1530        The Swiss or Alemannic Bible; a “composite” Bible, a term coined by the scholar Georg Wolfgang Panzer, it consisted of translations by Luther and others, and the introduction has been attributed to Zwingli.

1534        Dietenberger's Catholic German Bible

1534        Martin Luther completes a German Bible

1534        Joye's Antwerp revision of Tyndale

1534-5      First Hebrew Bible printed by Gentile

1535        First Hebrew-Latin Bible (Basle)

1535        First French Protestant Bible (Pierre-Robert Olivetan)

1535        First complete Bible in English by Miles Coverdale (1488-1568) who finished his manuscript on October 4th.  The sheets were printed either in Zurich or Antwerp, probably in 1536, and then shipped to England for rebinding and publication in 1537.  Also known as the Treacle Bible.

1537       Coverdale Bible first printed in England (see previous listing).  Bound and published by James Nicholson as a small folio.  Coverdale's dedication referred to Henry VIII as "Defender of the Faith, and under God the chief and Supreme Head of the Church of England"

1537        Two revised editions of the Coverdale Bible are published, officially sanctioned by Henry VIII

1537        Libri Salomonis

1537        Eck's German Catholic Bible

1537        Rogers-Matthew Bible;  better known as the Matthew's Bible, edited and compiled by John Rogers and printed in Antwerp by Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch.  Largely a Tyndale translation but also a compilation of various translations, with abrasive anti-Catholic notes.  The name "Thomas Matthew" appears on the title page (a pseudonym for John Rogers) since for political expediency William Tyndale's name was left out.

1538        Coverdale's Diglot (Latin and English) edition of the New Testament.

1539        Genesis (Pietro Aretino) in Italian

1539         (Richard) Taverner Bible (a revision of Matthew's Bible).  Although licensed by Henry VIII, it was not as well done as the other English editions, including the Great Bible

1539        Great Bible (Cromwell) Authorized English; of "lavish size and adornment" a large folio with frontispiece by Hans Holbein showing Henry VIII enthroned, handing the Bible down to Cranmer and Cromwell; seven editions were published from 1539-1541.  Also known as the “Chained Bible” because it was chained to its stand in many churches.

1540        Bokes of Salomon

1540        First Icelandic New Testament, translated by a Lutheran convert, Oddur Gottskálksson; his translation work was carried on in secret at Skálholt, Iceland. The book was published in Roskilde, Denmark, and is the first book published in Icelandic; A copy may be found in the library of Cornell University.

1540        First Latin New Testament of England

1541        First Hungarian New Testament

1541       First complete Swedish Bible, published in Stockholm; translated under the supervision of Archbishop of Sweden Laurentius Petri, the brother of Olaus Petri; text similar to Luther's complete translation of 1534 and remained the Church Bible of Sweden until 1917.

1542        Servetus Bible

1543        First Zurich Latin Bible

1543        First Spanish New Testament, and dedicated to the emperor Charles V, by Francis Enzina (Driander).

1544        First North American printed document;  (Mexico City)-  Doctrina breve muy p[ro] vechosa de las cosas que per tenecen…, by Juan de Zumarraga, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Mexico.

1544-5     First Standard German Luther Bible, last to be revised by Luther

1546        Robert Stephen's First Greek Testament

1548        Flemish Bible translated by Nicholas Vinck, printed and published at Louvain.

1548        First Finnish New Testament, translated by Michael Agricola, and printed in Stockholm, Sweden; Agricola also translated several books of the Old Testament, such that a quarter of the work was complete when he died in 1557.

1548-9    Erasmus' English paraphrase of New Testament

1549        First separate English Apocrypha

1550        First Greek-Latin Bible

1550        Royal (Stephens) Edition Greek Testament

1550        First Danish-Norwegian Bible

1550        First French Louvain Bible, by order of the Emperor, Charles V.


1551        The Inquisitorial Index of Valentia, Spain (supplement) forbids Bibles in Spanish or any other vernacular.

1551        Teofilo's Italian New Testament

1551        Castelione's First Latin Bible (Basle)

1551-52   First New Testament With Verses

1552        Les Pseaulmes de David

1553        First French Bible in Verses

1553        Biblia en Lengua Espanola Traducida Palabra por Palabra de la Verdad Hebrayca por Muy Excelentes Letrados, Vista y Examinada por el Oficio de la Inquisicion (The Bible in the Spanish Language, Translated Word for Word from the True Hebrew by Very Excellent Literati, Viewed and Examined by the Office of the Inquisition)  First Spanish Old Testament, printed at Ferrara in gothic characters, and dedicated to Hercules D'Este, duke of Ferrara.  Two editions were printed.

1553        First Polish New Testament, translated by Jan Sieklutzki, said to be a personal friend of Luther.

1553        First Crespin Greek Testament

1554        The Inquisitorial Index of Valladolid, Spain, lists 103 editions of the Bible condemned because of errors and heresies to suppression, correction or cancellation.

1555        First Latin Bible in Verses

1555        A proclamation by Britain’s Queen Mary commands “that no manner of persons presume to bring into this realm any mss., books, papers, etc., in the name of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Miles Coverdale, Erasmus, Tyndale, etc.  or any like books containing false doctrines against the Catholic faith.”

1557       The Whittingham New Testament, aka the Geneva New Testament -  the first Critical Edition of the New Testament in English, printed at Geneva by Conrad Badius; translated by William Whittingham, brother-in-law of John Calvin; introduction by John Calvin; First English language version to use verses and italics for supplied words; first translation to be printed in Roman type; one edition, never reprinted.

1560        French Psalter in meter

1560        Geneva Bible (also known as the Puritan or Breeches Bible); compiled by Whittingham, Anthony Gilbey, Thomas Sampson, Christopher Goodman, and William Cole; a small quarto, printed by Rovland Hall, Geneva; a meticulous rendering from Greek and Hebrew original translations; first complete English Bible to be divided into verses, the first to be set in Roman type and to use italics for omitted words in the original; meant for the common people, 140 editions were published from 1560-1644.

1561        First Polish Bible (Leopolita); also known as the Cracow Bible.

1561        The Place Makers’ Bible.  The Geneva Bible, Second Edition, Folio.  “Blessed are the place makers; for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matt. v. 9.  Published at Geneva, this extraordinary misprint was corrected to read peace and never occurred again.   

1562        First complete Croatian New Testament; translated by Antonius Dalmata and Stephanus Consul Istrianus, edited in Tubingen, Germany.

1562        Durone's Italian Bible

1562        Harrison Great Bible

1562        Sternhold & Hopkin's First Psalter

1565        Radziwill, Socinian,  or Brest Litovsk Bible (Polish Protestant version); a translation from the original languages by eighteen scholars under the patronage of Prince Nikolas Radziwill (Czarny’), and not popular with Polish Protestants.

1565        First Greek Testament of Beza

1566        Buchanan's Latin Psalter

1566        Carmarden Great Bible

1567        First Welch New Testament

1568        Bishop's Bible, also called Parker Bible, Episcopal Bible; went through 22 editions, with the last in 1606; not a popular version, not well edited.

1569        First Spanish Bible

1569        Plantin Polyglot Bible; printed and published by a Frenchman, Christopher Plantin, in Antwerp; text edited by Benedictus Arias Montanus, Chaplain to Philip II of Spain; Plantin's Bible is in five languages - Latin Vulgate, Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldaic (in the Old Testament), with Syriac replacing the Chaldaic in the New Testament; Special types were required, with the Greek and Syriac fonts cut by Robert Granjon and the Hebrew by Guillaume Le Bé. 1,200 paper copies and 12 vellum copies were produced, and is considered Plantin's masterpiece.

1571        Anglo-Saxon Gospels

1574        Beza's First Separate Latin Testament

1576        Henry Stephen's First Greek New Testament

1576        First Bible printed in Scotland

1579        First Latin Bible of Tremelius & Junius

1580        First Slavonic New Testament

1581        First Cyrillic Bible, (aka the “Russian Gutenberg”) printed by Ivan Fedorow.

1581        First Slavonic Bible.

1582        First Catholic New Testament printed in English by Fogny, at Rheims.   The O.T. was printed in 1609 at Douai.

1582        First Slovenian New Testament; translated by Primus Truber, surnamed Creiner, a reformed minister; published at Tubingen, Germany.

1584        First complete Icelandic Bible, the Gudbrandar Biblia; a work translated, printed and published by Bishop Gudbrandur Thorláksson at Hólar, Iceland; Bishop Thorláksson obtained the printing press that had belonged to the last Roman Catholic Bishop of Iceland, Jón Arason; this edition is praised for its typography and for being a “faithful mirror of Luther's German version.”

1584        Plantin's Biblia Hebraica

1585        First South American imprint; (Lima, Peru) Tercero Cathecismo y exposicion de la Doctrina Christiana;  the printer was Antonio Ricardo; the book is a religious manual for work in converting the Indians to Christianity.

1586        Heildelberg Triglot

1587        Hutter's Hebrew Bible

1587        Sixtine (Roman) Septuagint

1587        First Greek Testament printed in England

1588        First Welsh Bible, printed in folio.

1590        First Hungarian Bible

1590        Revised Vulgate Bible published by Pope Sixtus V; after his sudden death in August, 1590, the publication was canceled by the College of Cardinals and all copies that could be located were destroyed.

1591        Legate's Geneva Bible, first English Bible printed at Cambridge

1592        First Clementine Vulgate (Vatican Press).  Named for Pope Clement VIII (successor to Sixtus V), and became the standard edition of the Roman Catholic Church

1593        Kralitz Bible, Biblia Kralická  (Bohemian, aka Czech); one of the best among the Slavic translations; made by a committee of eight theologians under the chairmanship of Bishop Blashoslav; printed in Gothic characters by Zachariaš Solin at the Castle of Kralic in Moravia, with the entire cost borne by Baron John von Zerotin.

1593        First Czech Bible of United Brethren

1596        Hamburg Polyglot

1598        Miniature Geneva Testament

1599        Standard Catholic Polish Bible; translated and edited by J. Wupek.

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