Bible of Lyon

Alternate Titles:

Bibbia di Lione, La Bibbia Perduta, Verlorene Bibel von Lyon

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Bibbia di Lione
La Bibbia Perduta
Verlorene Bibel von Lyon

Type
Extent / Format

632 pages / 35.0 x 24.0 cm

Origin
Date
1541
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Jean Mareschal, Guillaume Leroy
Hans Holbein Junior

Illustrations

More than 100 smaller illustrations and 3 full-page lithographs

Short description

The so-called ‘lost’ Bible of Lyon can look back on an eventful history, as a controversial and renowned, yet eventually forbidden work of the 16th century. It contains Latin translations of biblical texts from ancient sources, among them is the rare 3 Maccabees. Printed in the 1640’s by Jean Mareschal in Lyon, the Bible of Lyon was confiscated and destroyed in the turmoil of the Counter-Reformation and only survives today in ten specimens.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Bible of Lyon

The so-called ‘lost’ Bible of Lyon can look back on an eventful history, as a controversial and renowned, yet eventually forbidden work of the 16th century. It contains Latin translations of biblical texts from ancient sources, among them is the rare 3 Maccabees. Printed in the 1640’s by Jean Mareschal in Lyon, the Bible of Lyon was confiscated and destroyed in the turmoil of the Counter-Reformation and only survives today in ten specimens.

A Forbidden Text

Jean Mareschal (ca. 1510-1590) was a printer and publisher in Lyon. He published a Bible in the years 1541-1543 that relied on ancient biblical texts. This originated from various sources and collected biblical texts, commentaries, excerpts, clarifications, etc. Thus the Bible of Lyon contains, inter alia, 3 Maccabees in Mareschal’s own translation – the first Latin translation of this text! The Book of Maccabees was nevertheless repudiated as an apocryphal text five years later at the Council of Trent. The printer in Lyon was pursued from then on by the Inquisition and had to flee to Heidelberg. His bible suffered a similar fate, it was confiscated and destroyed and thus only ten specimens survive today.

Illustrations by a Master of the Renaissance

One of these rare specimens of the so-called ‘lost’ Bible of Lyon is stored in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice. The 632 pages of the printed book were illustrated by 100+ small illustrations and three full-page lithographs. The significant Renaissance painter Hans Holbein the Younger contributed 16 graphics with biblical representations – so-called icons. Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543) is considered to be one of the greatest artists of his time. Born in Augsburg, in the course of his life he came to England by way of Basel and France and there became the court painter for Henry VIII!

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