Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book








Printed on Paper


10.4 × 7.8 × 3.1 in. (26.5 × 19.7 × 8 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

The Pagnini Bible was the first to divide the biblical text into numbered verses and one of the first revisions of the Latin Vulgate using the original languages. Sante Pagnini was an Italian monk and biblical scholar who eventually settled in Lyon, France. Like other scholars at this time, he became interested in studying the Bible in its original Greek and Hebrew sources. He completed his Latin translation in 1528, dividing his Bible into numbered verses for easier reference. His divisions, however, are different from the system used today, which was developed by Robert Estienne in 1551. Pagnini’s translation of the Old Testament was widely known for its literal reading of the Hebrew and remained popular until the end of the 1500s.

Printed in 1528 by Antonius Du Ry, Lyon, France. Acquired by Jacques Pamelius, Bishop of St. Omer, France;[1] Gifted to the College of St. Omer, Bruges, Belgium.[2] Acquired by 1823 by Jan Frans van de Velde, private collector, Leuven, Belgium.[3] Acquired by 1958 by George Goyder, private collector, United Kingdom.[4] Acquired by Florence Foerderer Tonner, private collector, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;[5] Gifted in 1971 to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;[6] Purchased at auction in 2013 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;[7] Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible.

Notes: [1] Pamelius’s ownership inscription, “sum Jacobi Pamelii,” is present on the second free endpaper. [2] An inscription on the title page notes Pamelius’s gift to the college. [3] A purchase notation with Van de Velde’s name is present on the second free endpaper. Van de Velde was a librarian and professor of theology at the University of Leuven. He was a noted book collector and, after his death in 1823, his collection was eventually sold at auction in 1827. It is unclear who purchased the book at this time. See J. Roegiers, “Jan Frans van de Velde (1743–1823): bibliograaf en bibliofiel,” in Opstellen voor Dr. Jan Deschamps ter gelegenheid van zijn zeventigste verjaardag: bibliografie, handschriftenkunde, miniatuurkunst, eds. E. Cockx-Indestege and F. Hendrickx (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers, 1987). [4] Goyder’s bookplate is present on the front pastedown. A portion of his collection, including this book, was sold at auction by Sotheby’s in 1958. See Sotheby’s Catalogue of an Important Collection of Early Bibles (mostly English): The Property of George Goyder, Esq (London), June 23, 1958, Lot 2. [5] Tonner’s bookplate is present on the front pastedown. [6] Tonner’s library was eventually part of a larger bequest to the Lutheran Church in America. See Estate of Tonner, 353 Pa. Super. 1 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1986). The “Tonner Collection” was transferred to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1988, where it was housed over the next 25 years. [7] The school sold the Pagnini Bible, along with other items in the collection, in 2013 to raise funds for the Lutheran Church. See Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Report of Actions of the Church Council (April 9, 2014), 2. See, also, Sotheby’s Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana (New York), December 5, 2013, Lot 169.

Select References :

Paul G. Grendler, “Italian Biblical Humanism and the Papacy, 1515–1535,” in Biblical Humanism and Scholasticism in the Age of Erasmus, ed. Erika Rummel (Boston: Brill, 2008), 227–276.

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