1608 Bishops’ Quarto
[Bible in English.] The New Testament… London: Robert Barker, 1608.
Colophon on Nn4v not dated.
Modern full calf by Starr Bookworks of Arizona, red calf spine label, marbled endpapers. Tight at gutter.
Herbert 297 (“agrees very closely with No. 288”). DM 229. STC 2906.
Followed by Sternhold and Hopkins, The Whole Booke of Psalmes, Company of Stationers, 1608
The Bishops’ Bible was first published in 1568, but was then re-issued in a revised form in 1572. The Bible had the authority of the royal warrant, and was the second version appointed to be read aloud in church services. However, it failed to displace the Geneva Bible from its popular esteem. The version was more grandiloquent than the Geneva Bible, but was harder to understand. It was also physically enormous, with many full page illustrations – the second edition being bigger in all dimensions than either the earlier Great Bible or the subsequent Authorized Version.
It lacked most of the footnotes and cross-references in the Geneva Bible which were helpful to people among whom the Bible was just beginning to circulate in the vernacular.
The last edition of the complete Bible was issued in 1602, but the New Testament was reissued until at least 1617. William Fulke published several parallel editions up to 1633, with the New Testament of the Bishops’ Bible alongside the Rheims New Testament, specifically to controvert the latter’s polemical annotations. The Bishops’ Bible or its New Testament went through over 50 editions, whereas the Geneva Bible was reprinted more than 150 times.