Sunday, September 16, 2012
Two Breeches Bibles In Libraries Of Ypsilanti
This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Saturday, September 17, 1932. Among the interesting and valued possessions of Ypsilanti people are Breeches Bibles, one in the library of Mrs. F. A. Barbour, and the other owned by C. I. LeForge. The Bible gets its name from the fact that one word is different that the Authorized Version. In Genesis III, 7, the word “breeches” was substituted for “aprons” in the description of man’s first clothes. Mrs. Barbour’s copy of the Breeches Bible was given to her by her daughter, who brought it from England. The first edition of the Breeches Bible was published in Geneva, in 1560. For that reason, it was first called the Geneva Bible, later receiving its nickname because of the difference of one word. The copy belonging to Mr. LeForge is the older of the two. It was printed in London in 1595 and has an engraved frontispiece, illustrating the Tree of Life. The other copy was printed in London by Robert Baker in 1608. Although it is 325 years old, it is in excellent condition. The pages of soft white paper have become yellow and grey with age, but the well printed text can be easily read. It has been necessary to repair the cover, but the old leather of the cover was used. The gilt in the simple tooled design on the binding is nearly gone and the leather darkened. But these signs of age and the spots where the leather is scuffed and worn with use only increase its value and interest for the owner. Mrs. Barbour has many interesting bits of history and information about the Breeches Bible. It is the work of a group called the Reformers who fled from England to escape persecution by the authorities. It is a revison rather that a translation, and was based on the translation by Tyndale. Because it was less bulky and cheaper than any other, it was the most popular Bible that had appeared in England. Several features of the Bible of today first appeared in the Breeches Bible. It was the first to use the present Roman type instead of the old black letter. At the first glance, the text of these books looks queer, as the “s” had the form of an “f”. It was the first to divide the verses and the first to omit the Apocrypha from the Bible. Mr. LeForce’s copy differs from most examples of the Breeches Bible, since the Apocrypha is included, but there are no marginal notes in this portion of the book. This Bible also omitted the name of St. Paul from the Epistle to the Hebrews and used italics for all words not in the original translation. One of the outstanding features was the marginal notes, in which the Reformers made comments concerning the theology and politics of the time. These notes were responsible for the King James Version of the Bible. These notes and comments were not the liking of the King, so he ordered a new translation made, the original of the Bible now in use. Publication of the Breeches Bibles marked end of much of the opposition to the Bible and the persecution of those believing in it. An idea of the knowledge that people had of geography in those times is given by plates illustrating these books. They have titles showing the subjects such as “A Description of the Holy Land, and situation of the Garden of Eden”. The engraved plates are much different from the latest pictures of these lands. But the important part of the Bible, the text, is very like the one in use today.