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1537 The First Edition of the Matthew-Tyndale Bible


OT Title Page: 1537
NT Title Page:
Size: 14 x 10 x 3
Black Letter (Gothic)

Additional Features: Full Calf
End Papers:

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Note: This 1537 printing of Tyndale’s Bible is the ultra-rare first edition / first printing of an English language Bible translated directly from the original Biblical languages of Hebrew & Greek.  Allowing for Coverdale’s 1535 Bible which was not translated entirely from the original languages; this 1537 printing is the second printing of an English language Bible.  A little over a dozen copies are known to be extant today. 

The First Edition of the Matthew-Tyndale Bible, 1537

[Bible in English.] [The Byble,/ which is all the holy Scrip-/ ture: In whych are contayned the/ Olde and Newe Testament truly and purely translated into Englysh by Thomas Matthew.][Printed for R. Grafton and R. Whitchurch of London: Antwerp?, 1537.][per Herbert]

The first edition, the first printing of the Bible called the “Matthew’s Bible” – that is, the William Tyndale Bible (as much as he had completed) seen through the press by John Rogers. “Thomas Matthew” is a pseudonym, not of John Rogers, but of William Tyndale (or perhaps a purely fictional misdirection, since Tyndale’s name, was still outlawed). (For his work on this Bible, John Rogers became the first martyr of the Marian persecutions, being executed in 1555.)

[Per Herbert:] Place of printing is unknown, but evidence points to Antwerp, perhaps the press of Matthew Crom. The Kinges most gracyous lyce[n]ce was obtained by Cromwell at Cranmer’s request despite the translation being predominantly Tyndale’s.

Ideal collation per Herbert: *6 **8  ***6  a-z8; Aa-Hh8; AA-LL8; MM6; Aaa-Iii8; Kkk10; A-O8.

The missing matter is provided in expert facsimile.

Occasional light damp or other staining. Some interesting early marginalia.

Overall, a nice copy, mostly clean and respectably tall.

Modern full calf to style by Starr Bookworks of Arizona.

Herbert asserts that this edition “is generally considered to be the real primary version of our English Bible” (p. 18).

Herbert 34. DM 17. STC 2066. Westcott, General View of the History of the English Bible.    [BH.6.10]