Browse Exhibits (2 total)

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. 

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Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection


Originally exhibited September 8–December 11, 2009
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries


This exhibition highlights Bibles from the collection of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro (1919–2009), who donated nearly five hundred volumes in more than fifty languages to Bridwell Library in 1996. One of Southern Methodist University’s great benefactors, Mrs. Prothro was the daughter of Joe and Lois Perkins, whose generosity endowed Perkins School of Theology. She graduated from SMU in 1939, one year after her marriage to Charles N. Prothro (1918–2001) of Wichita Falls. In 1962, a Bridwell Library exhibition of fifteenth-century printing inspired her to collect rare books. Her husband’s gift of six early volumes for their twenty-fifth anniversary on January 14, 1963 laid the foundation of a remarkable collection that reflects Mrs. Prothro’s life-long love of scripture and a connoisseur’s appreciation of historically significant editions.

Bridwell Library hosted the first exhibition of the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection in 1966. In 1990, one hundred Bibles from her collection were featured in the inaugural exhibition in The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries, given by her husband for their fiftieth anniversary in 1988. Donated to Bridwell in 1996, her Bibles have played important roles in many of the library’s exhibitions, including small exhibits marking her honorary SMU degree in 1996 and the rededication of Perkins Chapel on her birthday in 1999. Sixty of her Bibles were shown in a ten-year anniversary exhibition in 2006, for which her family donated additional early Bibles in her honor.

The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection invites continual use at Bridwell Library. The Bibles appear in many exhibitions and are shown regularly to visiting groups, examined by students, and consulted by scholars from around the world.  The collection will continue to inspire future students of the Bible, its history, and its lasting influence.

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