Building the Bible

The 1400s and the Printing Press

What happened in the 1400s that revolutionized the way the Bible was copied and distributed?

In 1456, Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1395–1468) printed, in Latin, the first Bible using his movable type printing press. The result was twofold. For centuries, Bible manuscripts had been transcribed painstakingly by hand. Copies were few and expensive. The printing press made copies of the Bible easier and cheaper to produce, making more copies available to more people. In the next twenty years, Gutenberg and his colleagues created more Bibles than had been created in the previous 1,400 years. Forty-eight of the nearly two hundred original Gutenberg Bibles exist today.


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