London: Robert Barker, 1611-1613. First and Second Editions (see below). Folio. 106 consecutive leaves, collates Iiii3-Ccccc6, complete thus. Superbly and sympathetically bound in recent dark brown quarter calf over dark brown wooden boards, single ornamental brass catch and clasp (catching on the lower cover in the English style), six raised bands on spine. In excellent condition, the paper stock crisp and unblemished (a few letters along fore-edges cropped). Item #1653
THE ENTIRE APOCRYPHA FROM THE GREAT KING JAMES, OR "AUTHORIZED" VERSION OF THE BIBLE. As is well known, the printer, Robert Barker, was chaotically and almost simultaneously printing and assembling copies of the First Edition (Great "He" Bible) together with the Second Edition (Great "She" Bible). Our copy is noteworthy as it is composed of exactly 50% "He" Bible sheets and 50% "She" Bible sheets, thereby exhibiting with perfect clarity the chaos of the printing operation that resulted in publication of what is today described as the 1611-1613 King James, or "Authorized" Version of the Bible.
The translation itself is widely considered a towering achievement in English literature, a rare combination of textual beauty and painstaking scholarship, created by the most unlikely of all sources, namely: a committee. The KJV itself has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language," "the most important book in English religion and culture", and "the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world."
The bibliographic complexities of the Great "He" Bible and the Great "She" Bible are legendary, but the most authoritative analysis has been undertaken by David Norton in his unsurpassed "Textual History of the King James Bible" (Cambridge University Press, 2004) - see especially Appendix 2 in which all the distinguishing points are clearly enumerated, and rendering all previous scholarship obsolete and irrelevant. As for the Great "She" Bible, Norton (p. 66) rejects the "first edition, second issue" designation, arguing instead for two separate "editions," but not without considerable qualification. Norton suggests that the "He" Bible sold out quickly, and that Robert Barker began printing sheets of the "She" Bible in order to supply further demand. "Copies were made up intermittently as purchase orders came in. The muddle in Barker's printing house was that, once varying sheets were available, no two copies were made up of the identical sets of sheets. Moreover, sheets continued to be available when the later large folios were made, so some copies of them have sheets from different editions, including sheets from the second edition." NB: Added to the present "mixed sheets" copy of the Apocrypha is an annotated collation following Norton's Appendix 2.
IMPORTANCE OF THE KJV APOCRYPHA: "Unlike the rest of the Bible, the translators of the Apocrypha identified their source texts in their marginal notes. From these it can be determined that the books of the Apocrypha were translated from the Septuagint – primarily, from the Greek Old Testament column in the Antwerp Polyglot – but with extensive reference to the counterpart Latin Vulgate text, and to Junius's Latin translation. The translators record references to the Sixtine Septuagint of 1587, which is substantially a printing of the Old Testament text from the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, and also to the 1518 Greek Septuagint edition of Aldus Manutius. They had, however, no Greek texts for 2 Esdras, or for the Prayer of Manasses, and [F.H.A.] Scrivener found that they here used an unidentified Latin manuscript." (Wikipedia, accessed 8/18).
CONTENTS OF THE PRESENT VOLUME (The Complete Apocrypha):
The First Book of Esdras
The Second Book of Esdras
The Rest of the Chapters of the Book of Esther, which are found neither in the Hebrew nor the Chaldee
The Wisdom of Solomon
The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus
The Song of the Three Holy Children
The History of Susanna
The History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon
The Prayer of Manasses King of Juda when he was holden captive in Babylon
The First Book of the Maccabees
The Second Book of the Maccabees.
Further References: A.S. Herbert, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible, 1525-1961 (1968) numbers 309 and 319.
Two copies of the 1611-1613 Apocrypha are currently on the market, the first is spectacularly overpriced (a rebound copy, asking $35,000 - sic!), the second is unbound (asking $4,500). Our copy has been brilliantly rebound by Eidolon House of Wills Point, TX: the unbound sheets came from the collection of distinguished San Antonio, Texas bookseller Frank Rosengren (possibly purchased by him unbound at the July 25, 1968 sale at Hamilton Galleries, New York, lot 26 for $65), and from thence to his widow Florence who managed the Rosengren bookstore until 1987, and from thence to her daughter-in-law Camille Rosengren, likewise of San Antonio.