A very rare Bible known for its unfortunate mistake of promoting adultery has been found in New Zealand.
The “wicked” Bible of 1631 tells readers to “commit adultery,” excluding the word “no” from its seventh commandment.. Thousands of copies of the text, also known as the Bible of Prostitutes or Sinners, were printed, and the error was discovered a year later.
Upon finding the error, the typists Robert Parker and Martin Lucas were summoned by King Charles I and brought before a court, where they were convicted of defamatory typographical error and irregular work. Their printing license was confiscated, they were fined £ 300 ($ 375) for several years (although eventually revoked), and most of the texts were destroyed. Only about 20 are in circulation.
Bibles are auctioned off from time to time, mostly in Britain or the United States, but the University of Canterbury in Christchurch says this is the first time one has been found in the Southern Hemisphere. The university was first informed of its existence in 2018, but researchers and bookkeepers decided to keep the discovery secret so as to allow enough time to read and preserve the book.
“It’s a mystery, it’s spectacular and it went all over the world.”Chris Jones, an associate professor at the university’s Interim Studies and a member of the London Archaeological Society, told The Guardian on Monday.
One of Jones’ former students gave him a copy in 2018 after his family bought it at a real estate sale. The late owner was British bookbinder Dan Hampshire, who moved to Christchurch from England in 2009, but as far as Jones can tell, Hampshire never told anyone about his property.
Jones’ former student told him he thought it was an “evil” Bible, but he did “Very unbelievable because these are not common elements.”
“It doesn’t make sense for you to go into an office and find one in a garage in Christchurch. But I’m looking at it and thinking, ‘Wow, this is what my alumnus thinks: this is a wicked Bible. I’m impressed with it.”Jones said.
Jones said there is a copy in Canada, some in the US, some in the UK, Ireland and Dublin “very good copy”.
“Australians say they have one, but they don’t” Jones laughed, saying that the infamous ‘no’ in his copy was not left out.
“It’s very unusual for someone to come to me in Christchurch.”He added.
The book’s discovery aroused Jones’ interest in biblical history, and he plans to publish articles on the myths about why the error was made, the court case surrounding it, and the field of printing in general.
There is a lot of debate about how misprinting can occur, with the theory that it could be deliberate industrial sabotage by a competing printing company. But Jones has criticized the rumor Printers running in the cut-throat industry are more likely to have lower costs to style publishers.
The New Zealand copy, owned by the Bill and Louis Tony Thorn Family Trust, remains a mystery before coming to the country. Many Bibles contain detailed descriptions of family trees, dates, places, and birth and death records, with only the unreadable name in this copy.
When the copy was rediscovered it was in relatively bad condition, the cover was missing, some water damage and some pages on the back had disappeared forever. But it also has some unique features: This is one of the few copies with the most fancy red and black ink and is a much more complete version than many others.
Sarah Aski, Superintendent of Books and Paper, preserves the book, treats it completely, puts in a new cover, and preserves it for future generations. Askey has documented small features that help provide clues as to where the book was located: In some pages he found plants, human hair and textile fibers.
“It worked was a bad little thing and had a lot of problems to solve, but it was very satisfying.”Said Aski.
The book is now fully digitalized and will be available to the public for free through a website in the coming months, Jones hopes.
“Someone came up and said, ‘Chris Jones, you’re an idiot. It’s very obvious; I’m looking forward to it.’ Jones said.
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