Leaves from the First Printed Bible with Glosses


(Strassburg: Adolf Rusch for Anton Koberger, not after, 1480). 468 x 325 mm. (18 3/8 x 12 3/4"). Variable number of lines of text in two columns surrounded by 73 lines of commentary, gothic type. With the Glossa Ordinaria and Interlinear Gloss attributed at different times to Walafrid Strabo and Anselm of Laon.

Capitals struck with red, paragraphs marked with red or blue, every leaf with at least one large initial in blue or red. Goff B-607; BMC I, 92. In especially fine condition, the thick, textured paper remarkably clean, fresh, and bright.

This imposing and typographically beautiful leaf comes from a book famous for being the first printed Bible with glosses. Walafrid Strabo (d. 849) and Anselm of Laon (d. 1117) have been credited, respectively, with the Glossa Oridinaria and the Interlinear Gloss here, but there have been significant additions to these commentaries over the years by other biblical scholars. The successor to Johann Mentelin, the first printer in Strassburg, Rusch borrowed three of the four typefaces used for his Bible from Johan Amerbach in Basel. Evidence exists that this massive work--its leaves are some of the 15th century's largest--was printed on at least seven different presses at once. The text here is from the Gospels.

Keywords: Koberger