Note: This is actually the first printed edition of the first translation of the New Testament in English.
To the casual observer, that claim may seem impossible… even absurd… because this book was printed as late as 1731. Considering that Wycliffe did his English translations of the Bible in the 1300’s, and Tyndale did his first printed English New Testaments in the 1520’s, how can this 1731 printing possibly be the first printed edition of the first English translation of the New Testament? It is because Wycliffe’s original circa 1378 productions were all hand-written manuscript copies, as Gutenberg did not invent the printing press until 1455. Tyndale did his own translation and printing work in the 1520’s. Indeed, it seems almost unimaginable that nobody bothered to print Wycliffe’s first manuscript English New Testaments as a printed book until the shocking late date of 1731… but it is true. Furthermore, nobody bothered to print Wycliffe’s complete Bible until 1850. This 1731 edition is extremely rare, with fewer than ten copies known to exist today, yet it is liquidation priced at less than half of its appraisal value.
1731 Wycliffe New Testament
First printing in book form of Wycliffe’s translation of the New Testament.
The New Testament Of Our Lord And Saviour Jesus Christ Translated Out of the Latin Vulgat by John Wiclif, S T P Prebendary Of Aust In The Collegiate Church Of Westbury, And Rector Of Lutterworth, About 1378 To Which Is Prfixt A History Of The Several Translations Of The H Bible And N Testament, &C Into English, Both In Ms And Print, And Of The Most Remarkable Editions Of Them Since The Invention Of Printing
London: Sold by Thomas Page and William Mount …, 1731. First printing in book form of Wycliffe’s translation of the New Testament. Two fine engraved portraits, one folding plate. , iv, , 108, , -156, viii pp. 1 vols. Folio. Old calf, rebacked and recornered in the 20th century to style in brown calf, raised bands, lettered in gilt. Three bookplates on front pastedown, modest tanning, some very tiny worm tracks in extreme edges of the portrait of Wycliffe, divisional title and first leaf of the text of the NT nearly detached at gutter and a bit creased, light occasional foxing, a few short tears at the fore-edge of the folding plate, otherwise a very good copy. First printing in book form of Wycliffe’s translation of the New Testament. Two fine engraved portraits, one folding plate. , iv, , 108, , -156, viii pp. 1 vols. Folio. Accompanied by the extensive prefatory “History …” by John Lewis. At Wycliffe’s instigation, a group of scholars prepared this translation into Middle English of the New Testament from the Latin Vulgate in 1380, and though popular, it circulated only in manuscript until this edition. Over two hundred manuscript versions are known, many of them of the revised version prepared by John Purvey. In 1409 the Wycliffe version was condemned as heretical and outlawed in Britain. This edition was published by subscription, and the edition, including some copies on large paper, is reported to have consisted of only 160 copies.