Chronological History of the Bible - 18th Century
1701 King William III of Great Britain signs (on June 16th, 1701) the charter incorporating the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (the plantations, colonies and factories beyond the seas); to provide education and “outreach” to those lacking religious instruction or motivation, and to counter “Popish Superstition and Idolatry.”
1705 Van der Hooght's Hebrew Bible
1710 Cotton Mather declares that his Biblia Americana is finished, and seeks to have it published in two folio volumes. He cannot find a publisher and dies before his dream is realized. The manuscript is in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
1710 The Canstein Bible Institute founded at Halle, Germany by Baron Karl Hildebrand von Canstein. This was the world's first modern Bible Society, with the goal of printing and distributing the Bible at low cost. In the beginning, the New Testament sold for four cents, the Bible for 12 cents; from 1710-1776 the Canstein Society produced 4,383,265 Bibles, and 1,337,056 New Testaments. Reportedly, 100,000 were printed in Lusatian, Wendish, Bohemian, Polish and Lithuanian, the remainder in German; von Canstein was able to do this through a method of cheap printing that he invented. [ see The Translated Bible, edited by O.M. Norlie. (Phila) United Lutheran Pub. House, 1934]
1717 J. Baskett Imperial Folio ("Vinegar") Bible in 2 volumes; Luke XX, chapter heading, having the word “vinegar” instead of the correct “vineyard” – “The Parable of the Vinegar.” Two editions issued, both in 1717, with many copperplate illustrations. Said to be the most sumptuous of all the Bibles printed at Oxford, and very beautiful. Unfortunately the proof-readers were careless and this edition was called “a basketful of printers’ errors” but is highly prized for this reason.
1718 Psalterium Americanum, The Book of Psalms, written by Cotton Mather in blank verse and published in Boston.
1719 First Psalter (Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament) of the Englishman Isaac Watts; poetically paraphrased Biblical Psalms, including the well-known Psalm 98, “Joy To the World, The Lord Is Come.”
1722 Watson's Edinburgh's Folio Bible
1731 Wiclif (Wyclif, Wycliffe) New Testament; (London) John Lewis [printer]; first Wiclif printing done with moveable type.
1743 First German Bible (Luther translation) printed in America by Christopher Sauer (Sower) in Germantown, Pennsylvania; the second Bible printed in the American Colonies (the first being the Eliot Indian Bible of 1663), and features a title-page in two colors, with text in double columns; the first Bible printed in America in a European language; the first Bible printed using American-made paper and type. The final product was a quarto in beveled boards, covered in leather, and took three years to produce; copies sold for about $2.50 each.
1745 First German Testament printed in U.S. (Sauer)
1745 Large Fifteen-volume set of Psalms and New Testament completed in bold longhand one-inch tall characters, in white ink and on black paper; financed by a London merchant named Harries whose failing sight made him unable to read the family bible; In the collection of the British Museum.
1750 Challoner-Douay-Rheims Bible; Roman Catholic edition, in English, revised by Bishop Richard Challoner.
1750 First Hebrew Bible printed in England (Oxford)
1762 University of Cambridge edition of the KJV, edited by Dr. Paris; published in folio and quarto editions, all but six copies of the folio edition were reportedly destroyed by fire.
1763 Second Edition of the Sauer (Sower) Bible produced by Christopher Sauer II, the son; 2,000 copies.
1763 John Baskerville's Cambridge Bible; a masterpiece of craftsmanship; 1,250 copies were produced, with 500 of them "remaindered" five years later.
1764 Anthony Purver's "Quaker" Bible; 2 vols., published in London.
1768 Oxford University edition of the KJV, edited by Dr. Blayney; commonly regarded as “the standard from which modern bibles are printed.”
1776 Sauer Bible, Third Edition, of 3,000 copies; This edition fell victim to the British invaders of Germantown, PA. Ten copies were saved by Sauer’s daughter Catharine who gave them to her children. (Tebbel, v-1, p179)
1777 First English New Testament printed in U.S. by Robert Aitken in Philadelphia
1780 First Testament of New Jersey
1781-2 First complete English-language Bible printed in America, by Robert Aitken; the first and only Bible ever authorized by U.S. Congress. (The N.T. had first been printed by Aitken in 1777, with second and third editions in 1778 and 1779, respectively)
1788 Isaiah Thomas "Curious Hieroglyphhick Bible" for children (Worcester, MA)
1790 Second Protestant Bible in English printed in U.S. (Philadelphia)
1790 First Catholic Bible printed in U.S. by [Mathew] Carey, Stewart & Co., Philadelphia (Challoner-Douay-Rheims reprint); the first 4to (quarto) English-language Bible in America. On theological grounds Carey omitted third and fourth Maccabees, third and fourth Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasses because, he said, “they have never been received by the church.”
1790 First New Testament published in New York by Hugh Gaine; unpaginated, duodecimo edition.
1791 First Folio Bible printed in U.S. by Isaiah Thomas, the most prolific Bible publisher of eighteenth century America.
1791 Isaiah Thomas Quarto Bible; in terms of typography, quality of paper and binding, Thomas’ 1791 Bibles were the finest produced in America to that point. Ben Franklin said of Thomas, “He is the Baskerville of America.” (Tebbel, v-1, p183)
1791 First Bible of New Jersey, and the first complete Bible printed in America; also the first American Bible to contain the Apocrypha; Printed and published in Trenton by Isaac Collins; unpaginated, and translated out of the original Greek, also included an Index, and a brief concordance. Collins hired the most experienced proofreaders he could find, and even his children were readers, his daughter being the last to read (for the eleventh time) the final proofs. For each mistake they found, the children earned a reward of One Pound Sterling. After laboring for two years, the finished product was as near to perfection as possible, with only two errors: a misplaced punctuation mark and a broken letter. For decades afterwards, the Collins Bible was considered the most typographically accurate bible in America. (Tebbel, v-1, p183)
1792 Brown’s Self-Instructing Folio Family Bible (Wright, D.D.; Tebbel, v-1, p183-184)
1792 First complete Holy Bible published in New York.
1792 English Baptist Mission Society founded by William Carey on October 2nd, at Kettering, UK.
1796 Berriman Philadelphia Bible
1797 Isaiah Thomas "United States of Columbia" Bible
1798 First "Hot-Press" Bible printed by John Thompson in Philadelphia. (1763 Baskerville text)
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