Eight Centuries of the Bible in Translation

Originally exhibited February 1–May 14, 2011
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


The Bible was born from two parent languages, Hebrew and Greek. Although St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible shaped Christian theology and worship throughout medieval Europe, the development of regional languages and the rise of reform movements encouraged numerous vernacular translations during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. By the late eighteenth century, biblical translations had been produced throughout Europe and in selected regions beyond. During the nineteenth century, a period of widespread missionary efforts, the Bible was disseminated in hundreds of languages indigenous to Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. Today, the Bible is available in more than 2,000 languages.

The gallery exhibition of 60 Bibles from Bridwell Library’s Special Collections traces the enduring effort, despite resistance on many fronts, to translate the Bible into the world’s native languages. Dating from the thirteenth century to the early twentieth century, the exhibited Bibles represent 55 different languages from five continents. 


Bridwell Library Special Collections