The “Bishops’ Bible”

English Bible. The Holie Bible. Conteynyng the Olde Testament and the Newe.
London: Richard Jugge, 1568. (00017)

With the accession of Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603) in 1558, the restored Church of England required a new English translation to replace the controversial “Geneva Bible” and its less popular predecessors. A committee of seventeen ecclesiastics and biblical scholars led by Matthew Parker (1504–1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, produced the new text. Although royal decree required the “Bishops’ Bible” to be placed in every cathedral and parish church, the quality of the text was uneven. Today this version is known for its lavish production, including engraved portraits of Queen Elizabeth’s court favorites Sir Robert Dudley (ca. 1532–1588) on a contents page preceding the Book of Joshua, and Sir William Burghley (1520–1598) at the beginning of Psalms.

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The English Bible Tradition
The “Bishops’ Bible”