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Early Bible Illustrations

Early Bible Illustrations

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James Strachan
Cambridge University Press, 18/01/2009
EAN 9780521100021, ISBN10: 052110002X

Hardcover, 188 pages, 21.6 x 14 x 1.1 cm

Mr Strachan was asked if he could identify or explain the illustrations in an edition of the English Great Bible of 1541. Some were simple, others quite baffling. He set out to discover their meaning and history, and succeeded in tracing their derivation. At each stage a possible influence or explanation pointed a stage farther back; in the end he found that he had to cover virtually the whole history of illustration in printed bibles during their first century. He has set down his findings in this study. There is a considerable detective interest; one sees how successive renderings of a subject produced strange garblings, until certain pictures became apparently meaningless. It is all quite easy to understand, now that Mr Strachan has explained it; but he was working backwards in time, and it was a feat of ingenuity and perseverance to have reached his conclusions. All the more so in that he had to survey the entire range of bible-printing in every important European country.