New Testament only. 116 printed leaves (of 128), lacking 12 printed leaves and 2 terminal. blanks; the missing leaves replaced with blank leaves of 15th-century Italian manufacture. Gothic type, 2 columns and 42 lines to the page. Manuscript incipits in red; prologue and book initials painted in red, blue, and green, some with penwork decoration and marginal extensions, of which a few have been shaved by an early binder. Chapter initials in red, text initials unrubricated except for portions of a few leaves. The Gospel chapters identified in manuscript with the contraction "cam." for "capitulum" and arabic numerals, all in red and of the period; Gospel and later chapters also identified by arabic numerals in black ink, in a later hand. No headlines. Notes and marginalia discussed below. Folio, leaves measuring 363 x 267 mm. Mid-16th-century blind-rolled calf over wooden boards, riveted brass corners and catches, leather clasps with brass tongues set in brass on lower cover. Resewn, with hand-sewn headbands; rebacked in modern calf, no lettering. The old leather on the front cover partly worn away, only a remnant remaining on the back cover. Bound in at front are two blanks, with manuscript notes, from a previous binding.
Lilly Library call number: BS 75 1454 vault
GKW 4201; the 42-line "Gutenberg" or "Mazarin" Bible, probably the first major work printed from moveable metal types in Western Europe, the present New Testament text being the terminal section (from folio 190) of that portion of the work (317 printed leaves) generally referred to as Volume II. This copy is recorded in Edward Lazare's The Gutenberg Bible: A New Census (1956) as No. 42, then the property of Mr. George A. Poole, Jr., of Chicago; it is also recorded in D. C. Norman's The 500th Anniversary Pictorial Census of the Gutenberg Bible (1961) as No. 34, by then in the holdings of The Lilly Library. In 1953 this New Testament portion was removed by order of the previous owners, Charles Scribner's Sons, from the incomplete copy of Vol. II once owned by the Stadtbibliothek in Trier, West Germany, recorded in the census by De Ricci (1911) as No. 15 [b] and in the census by Paul Schwenke (1923) as No. 14.
The 116 leaves present are a little more than one-sixth of the whole Bible. The complete work consists of 643 leaves and 1277 printed pages; some published leaf and page counts do not allow for the two terminal blank leaves or for the five blank pages (unprinted versos) found at the end of III Esdras, IIII Esdras, II Maccabees, Colossians, and Jude. Four printed leaves of instructions to the rubricator, found in only two copies, are not included in the GKW primary collation or in the above count.
In this copy, the books of the New Testament after the Gospels are bound in the following order, as in the facsimile of the Berlin Staatsbibliothek copy reproduced by Schwenke in 1914: Romans, I Corinthians, I-II Thessalonians, I-II Timothy, Titus (lacking), Philemon, Hebrews, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Acts (not misbound, but separating the Epistles of St. Paul from the later Epistles as usual), James, I-II Peter, I-III John, Jude, Apocalypsis (Revelation). The binding of the Pauline Epistles in this order, i.e., the binding of signature [E — 11 leaves] before signature [D — 12 leaves] according to the GKW collation, confuses the identification of three missing leaves; they are listed below with additional numbers to note their sequence in the Schwenke facsimile and in the present binding.
- II 191 Matthew i:1 —iii: 3
- II 217 Mark xv:36 —Luke i:11
- II 220 Luke iii:22 —v:9
- II 235 Luke xxiv:47 — John i: 50
- II 262 Schwenke facsimile II 273, binding sequence leaf 84, Prologue to II Corinthians — II Corinthians iii: 18
- II 275 Schwenke facsimile II 263, binding sequence 74, I Thessalonians iv:13 — II Thessalonians iii: 6
- II 279 Schwenke facsimile II 267, binding sequence 78, II Timothy iv:18 to end; all of Titus; Philemon to verse 11
- II 305 I Peter iii: 20 — II Peter i: 21
- II 314-317 Apocalypsis xii: 6 to end
- II 318, 319 blank leaves
[Note from the editor of the electronic edition: In June 1997, the Lilly Library acquired a leaf corresponding to leaf II 262, above, which is believed to have originally been part of this New Testament. ]
When the Trier Vol. II (hereafter Trier II) was sold at Sotheby's 21 June 1937, the cataloguer listed only six leaves missing from the New Testament portion — II 220, 262, 305, 314, 315, and 317. An account of the removal of other leaves after the book was purchased by Dr. Rosenbach at this sale will be found on p. 443 of Rosenbach: A Biography (1960), by Edwin Wolf II and John F. Fleming. Folio II 316 later went, as recorded below, to improve the Shuckburgh copy.
No. 48 in Mr. Norman's Pictorial Census, a fragment of 63 Old Testament leaves once also at the Stadtbibliothek in Trier, is described as having been bound with Trier II; Schwenke reports it in his 1923 census as bound separately, and, according to the Trier Stadtbibliothek, it was sold separately in 1931, not before 1900 as in Mr. Norman's description. A further bit of evidence that this Old Testament fragment was not bound with Trier II is in the 16th-century manuscript list of contents from Trier II preserved with the New Testament and referred to below; this does not include the pertinent books at the end of Vol. I.
Bound in at front of the New Testament are two preliminary blank leaves originally inserted in Trier II; on the verso of the second is a manuscript table of contents for this volume, starting with Proverbs, dated 1569. The New Testament books are numbered in a separate sequence, giving the folio number for the beginning of each book from 2 for Matthew (not listing the prologue) to 122 for Apocalypsis. The order of the books in this table was the usual one, with II Corinthians following I Corinthians; and the New Testament leaves are foliated in ink, probably by the same 16th-century hand, according to this sequence (now out of order for the pertinent leaves). This clearly implies that the Pauline leaves were in the correct order at that time.
On the recto of the first preliminary leaf from Trier II are three penciled statements in German noting that the volume had been foliated in pencil in the lower margins from 1 to 260 in 1931, and had been checked in 1933 and 1935. Since this numbering sequence is out of order in the Pauline Epistles, it may be assumed that they were in their regular order in the early thirties. Moreover, the cataloguer for the Sotheby one-item sale of this volume on 21 June 1937 mentions no misbinding, where such a variation might well be noted for the reassurance of auction customers, and the leaves were probably in their proper order when sold at Sotheby's.
There is also present a faintly penciled foliation of the misbound pages, "correcting" the 16th-century sequence, implying that the sheets were found misbound in this order and so foliated by somebody unfamiliar with the Schwenke facsimile or the true order. Unsupported recollection is poor bibliographical evidence, but the compilers believe that this foliation was inserted by Mr. De Boyden of the Bennett Book Studios in 1953 to record the order in which he found these leaves, when the New Testament was removed from Trier II. Therefore, it may further be assumed that, when the volume was taken apart for the removal of the leaves as noted above (1937), it was rebound with the two signatures reversed, following the order of the Schwenke facsimile Vol. II; that, when the book was again taken from its binding for the removal of the New Testament and distribution of the other leaves (1953), De Boyden found the Pauline Epistles in the present order; and that, when the New Testament was rebound for Mr. Poole, the binder followed De Boyden's foliation.
A correct foliation is now penciled in the extreme upper right corner of each leaf.
In the Ergänzungsband (1923) of Schwenke's facsimile edition, four different watermarks are recorded, two in slightly variant forms:
- an ox's head with a rod ending in a "star" made with two diagonal crossed lines
- a cluster of grapes or leaves, the stem at top twisted in a circle
- a smaller cluster of grapes with wider stem, cut off square at the top
- a running ox.
In the present copy watermark "a" occurs on 33 leaves, appearing at least once in all signatures except [C], [E], and [H]. Watermark "b" occurs on 16 leaves, appearing in signatures [y], [z], [A-F], and [I]. Watermark "c" occurs just once, on folio 216, [y] 5. Watermark "d" occurs 7 times, in signatures [C], [E], [G], and [H].
The inserted leaves of Italian manufacture include a number watermarked with an anchor in a circle, and one watermarked with what may be a representation of a balance or scale. The two blank preliminaries from Trier II have one armorial watermark.
Notes and Marginalia
On the first preliminary leaf, originally inserted in Trier II, are the penciled notes in German concerning the foliation and collation of Trier II, 1931-35, mentioned above; both recto and verso of this leaf also carry librarians' marks. On the verso of the second leaf is the 16th-century manuscript table of contents already mentioned. Below it is a note in German in the hand of the librarian Wyttenbach recording that he discovered and saved Trier II, then almost at the point of complete destruction, in 1828. This page is reproduced in Mr. Norman's Pictorial Census.
Latin marginalia in red, contemporary with the red chapter numberings, appear on folio 215 recto, at the head of Mark xiv; on 232 verso, at the head of Luke xxii on 234 recto, at Luke xxiii:54; on 246 recto, at the head of John xviii; and on 247 recto, at the head of John xx. All appear to be directions to the lector for reading in the refectory, and some are shaved by the binder's knife.
Similar directions appear in black ink on 204 verso at the head of Matthew xxvi, and on 254 verso at Romans xiii: 10. Notes in other, later hands, correcting misprints, appear on 201 verso, 253 verso, and 273 verso. Folio 219 bears at the bottom two penciled sentences in German stating that this leaf was once misbound.
The Lilly New Testament clearly shows the effects of a troubled existence and narrow escape from destruction. Eleven of the leaves have tears repaired in the bottom margin, and folio 260 has some restoration in the margin as well. A larger tear in folio 233 has been repaired, and folio 219 has been preserved (after severe damage) by extensive repair and restoration. The two preliminary leaves from Trier II are in on stubs, as are the last five printed leaves present.
All leaves show some marginal soiling at fore and bottom edges, but only a few are otherwise stained or foxed. The colored initials on the verso of folio 249 are smudged, and a few other leaves show traces of marginal dampening.
The paper itself is still crisp and, with present care, may hope to be spared further deterioration. It was the largest material expense in the production of the Bible; had it not been of such fine quality, the present copy might well have passed beyond any practical use.
Nothing is known of the owners of the Lilly New Testament before the discovery of Trier II on a farm in Olewig near Trier (French, Trèves; ancient Augusta Trevirorum), a small city in the Rhineland about six miles east of the Luxembourg border; it is reported as pleasantly situated in a small valley surrounded by hills, on the right bank of the Moselle about 80 miles across country from Mainz. The directions to the lector in refectory definitely point to ecclesiastical ownership. Trier was a cathedral town, the seat of an archbishop and elector of the Holy Roman Empire who held third place in the electoral college after the archbishops of Mainz and Cologne. This connection between Mainz and Trier, existing in the 15th century, might lead to interesting speculations on the early arrival of Trier II in that city. From that portion now at The Lilly Library, however, no evidence can be adduced.
The passing of the book from pious ecclesiastics to a farm where its value was unknown may also be speculated upon. Although Trier was taken once by the Spanish and twice by the French in the 17th century, both armies were Catholic, and it seems improbable, though not impossible, that either would have deprived a cloister of a Bible. However, in 1794 the Rhineland was overrun by another type of French army, that of the Revolution, which was then rising to a pinnacle of anti-clericalism and terror. During this period Trier II may well have been looted and then abandoned in the murky triumphs and reverses of war. When discovered by Wyttenbach in 1828, it was in a pitiable state; one story has it that the farm children had used some of the leaves to cover their school books.
The Trier Stadtbibliothek had, in 1931, three portions of the Gutenberg Bible. Vol. I was purchased in 1803 from a neighboring Benedictine monastery, and is still in the library. Vol. II had been found by Wyttenbach, and, from a source unknown, there was a third fragment of 63 Old Testament leaves. This last fragment was sold in December, 1931, to the firm of Hiersemann in Leipzig. According to Mr. Norman's Pictorial Census (No. 48), it is now in Austria, in the possession of Viscount von Seilern.
Negotiations were then entered into for the sale of Trier II. The same Leipzig firm apparently had it on consignment for a while, since the second inscription on the first preliminary leaf notes that it was collated in 1933 "after its return from the firm of Hiersemann." The City of Trier was holding it for a price of 130,000 to 135,000 marks ($52,390 to $54,405), when E. W. H. Mitscherlich, Continental representative of Sotheby's, arrived at Trier in August of 1936 with a firm offer of 125,000 marks ($50,375). According to Dr. Schiel of the Stadtbibliothek, Mr. Mitscherlich "acquired" Trier II at that time, although he probably did not personally become its owner.
When it was offered for sale at Sotheby's 21 June 1937 as "The Property of a Gentleman," the consignor of record was, according to Mr. Anthony Hobson, a Dr. Wiernick. Dr. Wiernick was fleeing the anti-Semitic persecution in Germany and, being unable to export any capital, selected this method of obtaining funds abroad. Although no evidence can be offered, it is possible that the Bible left Germany as technically the property of somebody else. Dr. Wiernick claimed to have paid 155,000 marks ($62,500) for it; it was sold at Sotheby's for £8,000 ($39,520, with the pound at $4.94). Dr. Wiernick's financial loss on the transaction may not have been as great as appears by the figures, considering the buying power of the pound in England. In any case, it is reported that his receipts from the sale enabled him to found a small business and to prosper.
Trier II now journeyed across the Atlantic to the firm of Rosenbach, had some leaves removed, and became the property of Mr. Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. When Mr. Houghton bought the two-volume Shuckburgh copy of the Gutenberg Bible from Charles Scribner's Sons in 1953, he turned over to Scribner's, as part of the transaction, not only Trier II but also the Rev. Roderick Terry's copy of the Book of Genesis (lacking the last leaf) from the Baroness Zouche copy broken up by Gabriel Wells in 1921. At this time Scribner's had Trier II taken from its binding and the Old Testament portion rebound in separate complete books where possible; where not possible, separate leaves were otherwise prepared for sale. The New Testament here lost one further leaf — 316, the next to last leaf of Apocalypsis, which went to Mr. Houghton to replace a leaf lacking in the Shuckburgh copy. Apart from this removal, the New Testament was kept intact and sold as a unit to Mr. George A. Poole, Jr. Mr. Poole had it rebound in the old Trier II covers, with inserted blanks for the missing leaves, by Donnelley of Chicago. His entire collection, including the New Testament, was bought in 1958 by the Chicago antiquarian booksellers Hamill and Barker, and was purchased from them for The Lilly Library in November of that year.
Henry Stevens of Vermont once wrote, "It is not possible for many men to touch or even look upon a page of a Gutenberg Bible." It is possible at least to see one in Indiana, and thousands have. The Lilly New Testament, the property of the state of Indiana and the citizens thereof, is permanently on display in the main gallery of the Library. At one time it was withdrawn, but so many requests to see it were received that, to save wear and tear on personnel and book, it was returned to public view. It is the largest portion of the great Bible to be seen between the East and West coasts of the nation. Many of the books at Lilly are rarer, but none is more prized.