Friday, 6 June 2014

Restoration of a Geneva Bible

 The Leeds Library’s disbound, 1586 copy of a Geneva Bible, was the subject of a project to restore and clean the Bible and also research genealogical records, handwritten within the Bible. This research revealed that it had been in the possession of the Pope family, Quakers, who had been resident in Sherborne in Dorset between 1648 and 1796.

The Geneva Bible was a product of the Protestant Reformation which led to the religious ideology that man should achieve salvation by direct communication with God rather than through the ritual and legislation of the Catholic Church.  Ordinary people therefore required access to the Bible which had been historically written in Latin, and a number of attempts were made at an English translation. Because of the persecution of Mary Tudor’s reign, many leading Protestant theologians were exiled, a number of whom gathered in Geneva where they produced an English translation in 1560 which became very popular in England before it was eclipsed by the King James Version in 1611.

The Library’s copy was re-sewn and then rebound in full calfskin. Although not intended as a facsimile, reference was made to the sixteenth century with brass clasps and blind tooling. The Bible is housed in a clamshell box.

Brian Cole
June 2014

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