Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/675

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preachers not in word but in type, rum verbo sed scripto predicantes. Their activity extended through the dioceses of Lübeck, Schleswig, and Denmark; they gave out books to be printed, which betokens a demand that they could scarcely satisfy; and in Windeshem and other houses lending-libraries were opened. In the district of Utrecht alone, wrote John Busch the reformer, more than a hundred free congregations of Sisters or Beguines had a multitude of German books for their daily reading. This was earlier than 1479.

The demand fell into five or six large categories. The public wanted grammars and aids to learning. They were eager to be told about their own history and antiquities. They welcomed every edition of a Latin classic. But above all they cried out for books of devotion and the Bible in their mother-tongue. To sum up with one of the biographers of Erasmus, the early printed books of Germany were in the main of a popular educational or a religious character.

All that is left from the immense shipwreck of libraries and literature which happened during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries bears out this statement. It may be convenient to introduce at this point a brief general survey of the first Bibles printed, whether in Latin or the vernacular, down to the eve of the Reformation. As the educated classes read and corresponded on learned topics in the language of Rome, and monasteries were great consumers of religious works in Latin, we should expect frequent publication and large editions of the Vulgate which had been from before St Jerome's day the authorised Western version. Accordingly, Gutenberg set it up in type as his first production. It was finished by 1456; under the name of the Mazarin Bible, it still survives in several copies. The Mainz Psalter is the first printed volume with a date, 1457. The first dated Bible (fourth Latin) came out at Mainz from the office of "Fust and Schoeffer" in 1462. No book was more frequently republished than the Latin Vulgate, of which ninety-eight distinct and full editions appeared prior to 1500, besides twelve others which contained the Glossa Ordinaria or the Postils of Lyranus. From 1475, when the first Venetian issue is dated, twenty-two complete impressions have been found in the city of. St Mark alone. Half a dozen folio editions came forth before a single Latin classic had been printed. This Latin text, constantly produced or translated, was accessible to all scholars; it did not undergo a critical recension; but it might be compared with the Hebrew Psalms printed in 1477; the Pentateuch printed in 1482; the Prophets in 1485; the Old Testament in 1488, by Abraham ben Chayim at Soncino in the duchy of Milan. The Hebrew Hagiographa had come out at Naples in 1486. The Rabbinic Bible, from the Bomberg press at Venice, was edited in four parts by Felix Pratensis and dedicated to Leo X in 1517. The firm of Aldus in 1518 published the Septuagint; Erasmus had brought out the Greek New Testament in 1516. But it was first printed in 1514 in the