Pointing out Passages in Gutenberg’s Bible

[ Dog Ear ] Magazine

Only 48 original copies of the Gutenberg Bible are known to exist in the world today; one of them can be found at the University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Center. The Ransom Center’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible is unique in many ways, most notably for it’s interesting and mysterious marginalia.

For example, one reader of the manuscript has scratched the year 1589 into the gilded ‘h’ at the beginning of Deuteronomy for reasons unknown.

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Another feature of the Bible is a drawing of a hand that literally points to a marginal inscription of verse from Jeremiah that has been added to Vol. 2 by another reader.

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Drawings of hands used to point to important passages in manuscript texts were already being used by scribes centuries before the printing of Gutenberg’s Bible. The example below is a scan from a thirteenth-century Latin Bible from England, predating the Gutenberg by about two…

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