Lot 21



Katholische Bibell

Das ist: Alle bücher der H.Schrifft, beide Alts uñ Newen Testaments: nach Alter in Christlicher Kyrchen gehabter Trãslation trewlich verteutscht, und mit vielen heilsamen Annotaten erleuchttet, durch D.Johan Dietenberger. ... mit schonen ansehenlichen Figuren geziert, uñ in dire herrliche Form gestelt.

Gedruckt in Köln, bei Johann Quentel und Gerwinum Calenius, 1564, DLXIX (569) ff ch. (Old Testament) + CLXV (165) ff ch. (New Testament)



Full vintage black calf. Back with five nerves. Dishes on wooden ais surrounded by brass rods with clasps (head rod of the 1st dish and clasps in deficit). Gothic printed text on two columns.

Bible entirely engraved with dozens of woods and beautifully enhanced with shimmering colors. All the lettering, headbands, vignettes and in-text illustrations have been finely painted and illuminated: the colours and golds have kept all their brilliance!

Johann Dietenberger (1475-1537) was a Dominican friar, professor of theology and Grand Inquisitor in Mainz. He taught in Trier, Koblenz, Frankfurt and Mainz and was highly respected by the German Emperor. Considered one of Luther's greatest opponents, he published in 1534 the first complete Catholic Bible in Mainz (Mainzer-Bibel). It was popularly called the "Catholic Bible" (as can be read on our printed copy in 1564): it was the most widely printed and distributed German Bible in Catholic countries. Until the 18th century, more than 100 editions were printed, mostly in Cologne and Mainz, but also in other cities.

The history of the Catholic counter-Bible is quite edifying. As Martin Luther (1483-1546) had been excommunicated by the Pope, it was necessary to prevent his Bible, which had been widely used since 1522, from being read by German Catholics as well. It was too late to destroy it because there were already too many copies in circulation, and several rulers protected the printing works. The Church had no choice but to offer its own translation. It relied on three Catholic counter-bibles or correction bibles, all of which used the Latin Vulgate as a basis for translation. These were those of Hieronymus Emser in 1527 (NT only), Johann Dietenberger in 1534 and Johannes Eck in 1537. Although they were called "Catholic Bibles," their contents did not differ much from Luther's text, since some passages were simply copied or transcribed. Only a regional linguistic adaptation and the use of certain words in lower and upper German are recognizable.

Bits on the first course split, nerves are missing, caps removed. Dishes with old wormholes. General title pages with missing and old, first and last ff. restored in margin. The last ff. of the New Testament is missing.

Rare and very beautiful copy despite the defects.