The oldest printed book, the best printed book, the most printed book is the Bible. The greatest price ever paid for a book was paid for a Bible.
The book translated into most languages is the Bible. The book which has been sold and given away more than any other is the Bible. The Bible has dominated the literature of the world to such an extent and depth that even general book-collectors often find it necessary to have a few of the outstanding editions and versions to round out or to provide the foundation of their collections.
One of the fascinations of rare Bible collecting is the fact that it may start with historic items produced in the ages before there was printing with movable type in Europe. Early Codices o fetch Bible text has been discovered of which impressive facsimiles have been made, fragments of Hebrew Old Testament books made fin the first and second centuries before our era, fragments of Greek New Testament books written in the third century.
The earliest and most complete of these last are the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus, both held today in the British Museum, and the Codex Vaticanus which is held in the Vatican in Rome. Codices of later and lesser importance but very desirable in facsimile are the Codex Beza of the 7th. Century, now at Cambridge University. The 8th. Century Codex Amiatinus, the Codex Claromontanus, now in Paris. These are among the most trustworthy and valuable basic manuscripts for the received text of the New Testament.
For most serious collectors the historic English Bibles form the heart of the collector. The rarest English Bibles are;-
Bibles Printed in America
John Wycliffe’s belief in God’s call to translate the forbidden book into the language of the common man set him against traditional church teachings.
John Wycliffe 1331 – 31 December 1384 was an English Scholastic University teacher at Oxford in England.
John Wycliffe was also an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common language. He completed his hand-written translation, directly from the Vulgate Bible into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe's Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe's Bible appears to have been completed by 1384, with additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe's assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 and 1395.