Plantin was suspected of Calvinist sympathies, although Antwerp at that time was firmly Catholic. He developed a plan to prove his loyalty to the Catholic king Philip II of Spain by producing a version of the Bible in five languages. The king financed the plan and sent the Spanish theologian Benito Arias Montano to Antwerp to watch over the production of this eight-volume masterpiece of printing, which was printed in 1100 copies.
The first four volumes contain the Old Testament. The left page has two columns with the Hebrew original and the Latin translation, the right page has same text in Greek with its own Latin translation. Underneath these columns there is a Aramaic version on the left-hand page and a Latin translation of this on the right-hand side. For printing the Hebrew text Plantin used among others Daniel Bomberg's Hebrew type, which he had received from Bomberg's nephews. Volume 5 contains the New Testament in Greek and Syriac, each with a Latin translation, and a translation of the Syriac into Hebrew. Volume 6 has the complete Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek, as well as an interlinear version that has the Latin translation printed between the lines.
The last two volumes contain dictionaries (Hebrew-Latin, Greek-Latin, Syriac-Aramaic, grammar rules, list of names, etc.) that were of value to scholars.
A complete copy of this Bible is on display at the Plantin-Moretus Museum (the site of the original printing press), including the typefaces which were designed for this project.
Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrote, eds.: Books for Sale: The Advertising and Promotion of Print since the Fifteenth Century.(Book review)
Mar 22, 2010; Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrote, eds. Books for Sale: The Advertising and Promotion of Print since the...