This book is the first in-depth study of the production and use of Bibles in late medieval and early modern England. Over three and a half centuries, from the nascent universities and Latin Bibles of the thirteenth century to the death of Edward VI in 1553, it puts a new perspective on the advent of moveable type print and religious reform. Based on the analysis of hundreds of biblical manuscripts and prints it reveals how scribes, printers, readers, and patrons have reacted to religious and political turmoil. The material evidence undermines traditional narratives, revealing, for example, evidence of Church worship in English prior to the Reformation, or seeing Henry VIII's Great Bible as a useless book.
Through the details and particularities of material history, Poleg reveals, instead, "a more turbid realm of uncertainties and protracted transformation". * Jessica Brantley, Yale University, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies * As a cohesive whole, Poleg's work sheds light upon a long period of the Bible in England. Elevated by interesting case studies and contributions to our understanding of lesser-studied Bibles, this work achieves its ambition to address the transformation and gradual dissemination of the English Bible. This enlightening work will appeal to many by making a complex field of research accessible and engaging. It covers a broad chronological period with surety and will
find a keen readership amongst historians of English print culture, medievalists and early modernists. * Celyn Richards, Journal of Ecclesiastical History * Eyal Poleg's erudite work is an important and innovative contribution to the history of the English Bible. It successfully brings together the study of manuscripts and printed Bibles in a framework that closely attends to layers of material evidence. This evidence reveals complex ways in which producers and readers engaged with their books for a variety of sometimes conflicting theological or commercial motives. Extending the focus to previously little-studied later
copies and subsequent reprints/editions is a major strength of the book. * Matti Peikola, Manuscript Studies * ...there is much to be learned from the attention to biblical paratexts, and to various scribe', editors', translators', and printers' attempts to parse and package the Bible as a singlevolume text. And Poleg's book may fruitfully be consulted by anyone pursuing research along these lines. * Andrew Kraebel, Church History * This is a quite unique piece of scholarship, embracing not only different periods, but also different disciplines, both of which have hitherto normally been treated in isolation from each other. The mastery of different bibliographies (many of which have grown increasingly long in recent years) and the readiness to ask different questions of different periods and sources are particularly impressive... I am especially struck by the emphasis... put on the liturgical
dimensions of the transition, and on the role of the commercial instincts of publishers and printers. [This] volume should be compulsory reading for all traditional historians locked into teleological or binary, confrontational approaches to Wycliffite texts and the Henrician reformation. * Ian Green, Professor of Early Modern History, Queen's University, Belfast. Author of Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England, Oxford University Press. *