02 March 2008

New Gutenberg bibles?

Gutenberg's printing press marked the start of western mass-production of books.

Only 48 known copies of the bibles printed by his press in the mid fifteenth century are known still to exist, and most of those are in far-from-perfect condition.

The first copy to arrive in the United States was known to be on these shores by 1847, when it was purchased by James Lenox. It now sits in the New York Public Library.

In 1987, a Tokyo-based company reportedly purchased one of the remaining copies at auction (Christie's) for $4.9 million. That copy is now in the Keio University Library in Tokyo.

A couple in Utah have taken it upon themselves to make new ones, in a manner of speaking.

Using a reconstructed press, period-appropriate binding techniques, herringbone stitch to hand sew the pages together, beechwood for the covers, they're working in painstaking detail to create their replicas.

God bless them. That's dedication.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.