The first Hieroglyphic Bible for Children

Die Geistliche Herzens-Einbildungen in zweihundert und fünffzig biblischen Figur-Sprüchen vorgestellet erster Theil.
Augsburg: Johann Christian Leopold, [ca. 1730].

[Bound with:] Deren fünffhundert Geistlichen Herzens-Einbildungen anderer Theil. In zwei hundert und fünffzig biblischen Figur-Sprüchen vorgestellet. 
Augsburg: Johann Christian Leopold, [ca. 1730].

The earliest hieroglyphic Bible, composed entirely of brief biblical passages presented as a combination of text and images in rebus form, was compiled by Melchior Mattsperger (1627–1698) and first published in two parts in Augsburg in 1684 and 1692. At least four editions were issued in Germany during the following half century. This later German printing, revised by the publisher Johann Christian Leopold, includes both parts of the Geistliche Herzens-Einbildungen (“Spiritual heart imaginings”) with 500 hand-colored engraved images bound in a single volume.

For each passage, the book, chapter, and verse is indicated at the top of each plate, followed by the biblical passage with several words represented by illustrations. The full text is provided at the bottom of each page. In translation, the three passages on display read:

237 (left): “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” —Genesis 28:12.

236 (center): “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” —3 John 1:4.

238 (right): “It compasseth the heaven about with a glorious circle, and the hands of the most High have bended it.” —Ecclesiasticus 43:12.

Primarily intended for young readers, this format provided an engaging introduction to the Bible and became a popular publishing genre well into the nineteenth century. Hieroglyphic Bibles in Dutch and French were also published by 1745 and the first English version appeared in 1783. 

The First Hieroglyphic Bible for Children