The Hieroglyphic Bible in England and the United States


Scripture History. A New Hieroglyphical Bible; Comprising Selections from the Historical Books of the Old and New Testament. Ornamented with Nearly Five Hundred Wood Cuts. 
London: Published by S. Carvalho, [ca. 1820]. (00426)

“Amongst the variety of small books published for the instruction of youth, there appears not to have been any of this kind yet offered for their amusement . . . with a design to give them an early taste for the Holy Scriptures, and to engage them, as they may advance in years, more earnestly and seriously in the study of the sacred books of the Old and New Testaments.” 
A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible

Die Geistliche Herzens-Einbildungen, with brief selections combining words and images and the complete text on the same page, became the model for later hieroglyphic Bibles printed on the Continent as well as in England and the United States. The first English language edition, A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible, was printed in London in 1783 and the first American edition followed in 1788. Introducing children to brief biblical passages with an intriguing combination of text and image, numerous editions with a variety of biblical selections and illustrations were issued through the first half of the nineteenth century.

Examples of five hieroglyphic Bibles are included here, representing editions printed in England and America from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Following the tenth London edition of 1791, with a frontispiece of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2), four nineteenth-century printings are exhibited with openings illustrating, in sequence, several passages in Genesis 2–32.

The Hieroglyphic Bible in England and the United States