Bishop's Bible

GRO #14
Bishop's Bible
Alternative Title
The Holie Bible
The Bishop's Bible came into existence as a reaction against the Geneva Bible. Leaders in The Church of England disagreed with some of the notes found in the Geneva Bible, finding them to be biased towards the Catholic Church its Protestant origins (Shaheen). Therefore, the Bishop's Bible was printed in 1568 and "in April 1571 the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury ordered that copies of the first edition be placed in every cathedral and, as far as possible, in every church" (Historical Catalogue).

Some theorize that this edition of the Bible is the same edition that Shakespeare would have heard in church. Evidence of this can be found in various plays such as "Love's Labour's Lost" and "Richard II." When passages from the Bible are quoted, they are quoted in the unique language of the Bishop's Bible (Shaheen).

This Bible contains a multitude of illustrations. The title page includes a rare engraving of Queen Elizabeth. Before the Biblical text, the printers have inserted a detailed genealogy of Christ, calendars telling the reader or clergy member which chapters to read for personal study or for church use, and various almanacs and lists of holy celebrations.

Detailed illustrations can be found throughout the text. Before various books in the Bible there are pictorial representations of events found within. Before each of the four gospels, an image of the author can be seen with their representative figure by their side. Other illustrations include detailed maps and drop caps with imagery from Greek and Roman mythology.
* * *
Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible 1525-1961, ed. A.S. Herbert (London, 1968), item 125 (DMH 125).

Shaheen, Naseeb. 2000. “Shakespeare and the Bishops’ Bible.” Notes and Queries 47 [245] (1): 94–97.
Date Created
1572 AD
Richarde Jugge
Geographical Coverage
Temporal Coverage
16th Century
Second Edition
Collecting Areas
English History of Writing Collection
English English Bibles
Note pasted on recto side of first endpaper. Handwritten note as follows:

"This is a fine Copy of the
Second edition of the Bishops
Bible quite perfect [Fine] Title
& has in addition the rare
2nd Title with the portrait
see Joshua (title)

Francis Fry

[Bomo?] 31
Bibliographic Citation
The holie Bible. London: Richarde Jugge, 1572.

Item sets