BIBLE, Latin. [Basel: Berthold Ruppel (part I) and Bernhard Richel (part II), not after 1474].
Royal 2o (398 x 292 mm). Collation: [1-2210; 23-4210 43-448] (1/1r prologue to Genesis, 23/1r Proverbs). 220, 216 leaves. 50 lines (part I), 48 lines (part II), double column. Types: 2:112G (part I); 1:119G (part II), with woodcut capitals 1. Three- to eight-line capital spaces (part I), 3-line spaces (part II). Part I with one large red and blue Lombard initial with red pen-flourishing and reserved ornament modelled in brown ink; part II with the woodcut initials highlighted in red or blue; both parts rubricated with simple Lombard initials in red and blue, red capital strokes. Book headings and chapter numbers throughout and headlines to New Testament only supplied in red. Instructions for rubricator visible in margins. Contemporary manuscript quiring on first recto of each quire. With the penultimate line of 31/1v col. 2 stamped in at the foot of the column and marked by the rubricator. Two pinholes visible, one each in top and bottom margins. (Dampstains to some blank margins, minor fraying to blank lower margins of last ca. 100 leaves, old repairs to blank margins of first leaf and last 6 leaves, printing flaw to 21/7r with portions of 8 lines unprinted, first and last pages slightly darkened, a few small wormholes to first ca. 80 and last ca. 3 leaves.) Contemporary undecorated German pigskin over wooden boards with plaited leather headbands, preserving some deckle edges (some wear, repairs to joints, a few small wormholes); evidence of two clasps.
Provenance: scattered early annotations -- He. Institor, possibly the author of Malleus maleficarum: inscription on 1/1r (beginning with a monogram: HEINstitor me possidet) -- erased 17th-century inscription of a religious community on 1/1r -- Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), sixth son of King George III; sale, Evans, 4 July 1844, lot 722; this copy described in T.J. Pettigrew, Bibliotheca Sussexiana, vol. 1 part 2, pp. 303-5 -- George Livermore of Dana Hill, Cambridge, Massachusetts: bookplate; his books were deposited at Harvard University from 1859, after his death, until they were surrendered to his executors on 9 November 1894; sale, Libbie, 20 November 1894, lot 110 -- Dean Hoffman; presented to -- General Theological Seminary: bookplate; sale, Christies New York, 1 October 1980, lot 6.
THE SECOND BIBLE PRINTED IN BASEL. Berthold Ruppel, who worked with Gutenberg at Mainz and testified on his behalf in the 1455 suit brought by Johann Fust, is generally credited with the introduction of printing to Basel. The chronology of his early productions, all undated and without place or printer, is uncertain. In fact, the earliest conclusive date associated with printing in Basel is 24 December 1471, when a strike of printers' workmen was settled. Three books, a Gregorius Moralia in Job, a Nicholaus de Lyra Postilla super Evangelia and the present Latin Bible, all printed in an archaic type modelled on Fust and Schoeffer's 1462 Bible type, are thought to be Ruppel's earliest; of the three, the Gregorius was long given primacy on the basis of a manuscript acquisition date of 1468 in a copy at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, proved in 1938 to be a later forgery. Typographical evidence indicates that the Bible preceded the Gregorius, and the annotated edition of BMC proposes that it was executed first, followed by the Nicolaus de Lyra. Victor Scholderer, summarizing the evidence, concluded that the three books "... a Latin Bible, the Postilla ... and the Gregorius, in that order, should now be definitely accepted as the earliest Basel printing ..." (The Library, ser. V, vol. 3, 1948, pp. 50-54; reprinted in Fifty Essays). CIBN dates the Bible to ca. 1472-1473, BSB-Ink. to ca. 1473; a terminus ante quem is provided by a rubricator's date of 1474 in the Wolfenbttel copy.
Bernhard Richel, of Ehenwiler, was first mentioned in Basel documents in 1472, his first dated book was printed in 1474, and he died in 1482. On 25 June 1473 he was mentioned as a business partner of Berthold Ruppel, a circumstance possibly related to the production of this Bible. Richel and Ruppel cooperated on several publications, including the Bible, and a 1477 edition of Nicolas de Tudeschis, Lectura super V libris Decretalium (Goff P-45), in which Michael Wenssler was a third partner and which seems to have caused financial difficulties for all three printers.
Although Ruppel printed part I and Richel part II of this Bible, they used a single paper stock and the types of the two sections resemble each other. Like most other early printed Bibles, this one takes both its text and its format from the tradition established by the Gutenberg Bible. It was set probably from Heinrich Eggestein's first Vulgate Bible, which was itself set from a copy of the Gutenberg Bible (cf. P. Needham, "The Text of the Gutenberg Bible," in Trasmissione dei testi a stampa nel periodo moderno, vol. 2, Rome 1987, pp. 43-84). In part II of this edition the penultimate line was omitted from 31/1v, column 2; in most copies, including this one and the British Library copy, the missing line was stamped in at the foot of the column, and reference marks were provided by the rubricator. A few copies of this edition are bound with a four-leaf printed rubrication table. In the present copy, however, the guides for the rubricator have been written in the margins in very small script, in continuation of the manuscript tradition.
HC 3038* (=3044); BMC III, 714 (IC. 37008) & III, 736 (IC. 37174); BSB-Ink. B-416; CIBN B-370; GW 4213; Pr 7447 & 7531; Goff B-538.