Early Modern Bibles on the net

As one whose university career began in the 1990s, I cannot fail to appreciate the ways in which digital resources are constantly evolving and extending. The breadth of data collated within this study would have been impossible without the many digitisation projects, and the growth of Open Access collections.

When I wrote those words in the acknowledgements of my PhD thesis, my sense of gratitude was sincere. Systematic collation of passages from a wide range of early modern bible translations was made easier by high-quality digital facsimiles freely available on the world wide web. Digitisation projects expanded my scholarly reach even while I was at work on the thesis.

This is not to say that it is necessarily easy to locate specific early modern resources on the internet, and so—as a bookmark for myself and a resource for others—I am setting out to assemble an index of online bibles, geared toward those with interests in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The index will stretch beyond the confines of any specialist catalogue, and I am opting to refer to the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) record wherever possible because:

1) The USTC is freely available online.
2) USTC records incorporate references from other established catalogues.
It also links to those catalogues where possible (helping those who need to incorporate a particular standard system).
3) It might be up-to-date (and can be updated).
Our knowledge of early modern bibliography is incomplete: the identification of a printer may change, as may place and/or year of printing. As a born-digital resource, the USTC can be updated to reflect the latest in bibliographical knowledge and/or scholarly consensus.
4) USTC records link directly to known digital copies, potentially expanding the utility of my own preferred links.

Because of the accessibility of the USTC itself, I will not be attempting to supply full bibliographical details here. And because of my interests, I will be linking to the first page of Ruth.

I begin with one subset: German(ish)* bibles before Luther.

*Includes German, Dutch, and Low German.

Leave a Reply