Printing: Renaissance & Reformation

An Exhibit for History 101: European Civlization I

Introduction | Island 1 | Island 2 | Island 3 | Island 4 | Island 5 | Island 6

Island 5 - Printing and the Reformation

The "King James" Bible
London, 1611.

The University's Special Collections include a collection illustrating the development of the English Bible, from Coverdale and Tyndale onwards. This new "Authorized Version" replaced the Geneva translation, standard in English churches in Shakespeare's time. Note the elaborate title page, showing the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles, and note also the transition in typeface, with the text in the older-fashioned black-letter or Gothic, while the title-page uses the Roman type that would become the norm for English books.


Martin Luther, 1483-1546
De captivitate babylonica ecclesiae
Wittenberg: Meilchior Lotter, 1520.

Martin Luther
Assertio omnium articulorum M. Lutheri per bullam Leonis X, novissima damnatoru
Wittenberg, 1520.

These are rare first printings of the original tracts in which the German church reformer Martin Luther attacked the "Babylonish captivity" of the church under Rome. In these tract, Luther defended the ninety-five articles or theses about religion that he had nailed to the church door in Wittenberg in October 1517, which had been condemned by Pope Leo X.


Henricus [Kramer] Institoris and Jakob Sprenger
Malleus maleficarum
Speier: Peter Drach, ca. 1490.

This book, "The Hexenhammer," or "Hammer of the Witches," was first published in 1484. Sprenger was the Dominican inquisitor for Cologne. It became the textbook of the day in the great witch-hunts of the next two centuries, both on how witchcraft could be uncovered and how it should be gruesomely punished.

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