8. March 2009, 17:53 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Over the centuries errors made when printing the Bible have occasionally crept into versions making them famous, or infamous. Mistakes in typesetting are not uncommon in any book and often attempts were made to recall the print run but as is usually the case not all erroneous copies are retrieved. These become rare and collectible over time, sometimes becoming worth considerable amounts of money. What follows is a list of some of the more notable versions of the Bible with printing errors.

Some time in the 1600’s, a printer produced a Bible in which Psalm 119:161 (Princes have persecuted me without cause.) was typeset as “Printers have persecuted me without cause.

In an edition of the Bible published in England in 1795, Mark 7:27 (Let the children first be filled) was misprinted as “Let the children first be killed”. Often referred to as the “Murderer’s Bible”, it is eagerly sought by collectors.

The first printing of the King James Bible in 1611 had a gender confusion issues in Ruth 3:15. Some of the books were printed with “She went into the city,” while others were printed as “He went into the city,”. Book collectors refer to these as the “He Bibles” and “She Bibles”.

A large family Bible printed in 1875 in Philadelphia, USA replaced the familiar line of the Lord’s Prayer “Give us this day our daily bread” with “Give us this day our daily break<”.

One of the earliest Bibles printed in the U.S.A. was the work of a Quaker, Isaac Collins. He printed a copy of the King James version in 1791 and omitted the KJV’s dedication to the King of England. The Bible had one further curious error. Isaiah 53:3 should read “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” but the Collins printing read “He is despised and rejected of women;”.

From 1676 to 1711, a Mrs Anderson had the exclusive right to print Bibles for Scotland. One of her critics said that “nothing came from her press but the most illegible and incorrect Bibles and books that were ever printed in any one place in the world”. An example from a 1705 Bible printing reads “Whyshoulditbethoughtathingincredible wt you, yt God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8). Despite her firm’s apparent ineptitude she had several people fined for vioalting her exclusive publishing right.

Perhaps the most famous printing error in any Bible printing was the omission of the word “not” from the commandment in Exodus 20:14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. The misprint occurred in 1631 in an edition done by the King’s Printer Robert Barker. The pressmen at the firm were fined 300 English pounds and the whole print run was recalled and destroyed - a rather severe financial drain on Barker. Though most were destroyed,a few which survived are highly prized by rare book collectors who often refer to it as the “Adulterers’ Bible or “Wicked Bible”.

This article inspired by the bulletin of the Church of Christ The King, Parish of the Resurrection, Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Anglican Church of Canada pubished for the Feast of All Saints, 2008.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: Bible,printing,errors


Bel Thu Jan 14, 08:23 PM

“Despite her firms apparent ineptitude…” Hmm, missing an apostrophe.

WDM Tue Jan 19, 04:58 PM

Fixed. Thanks for the heads-up.


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