The First Bible Printed in German

German Bible.
Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin, before 27 June 1466. (06164)

Johann Mentelin (ca. 1410–1478), the first printer outside of Mainz to use movable type, produced a Latin Bible in Strasbourg in 1460. Mentelin’s German Bible, issued six years later, is the first edition of the Bible printed in any language other than Latin. The first of seventeen German editions of the Bible published prior to Martin Luther’s translation, it also preceded the first printed Italian Bible by five years, the first French and Spanish editions by a decade, and the first complete English edition by sixty-nine years.

Originally owned by the Augustinian Canons of Königsberg, Bridwell Library’s copy contains three pen-and-ink miniatures. King David appears in the initial at the beginning of III Kings. King Solomon is included at the outset of Proverbs. Moses, shown left and below, introduces the book of Deuteronomy.