Recently, an anonymous donation was made by an ADVANTAGE student to the MCU Library archives. The donation was a complete and well preserved Bible printed in England in 1607, and known as the Geneva Bible. It was printed four years before the first release of the original King James Version in 1611. It is bound in leather over wood, but was probably re-covered in the mid to late 1800s. This Bible was nicknamed the “Breeches Bible” because of a passage in Genesis; in that version the passage about Adam & Eve states that “when they saw that they were naked, they sewed together leaves and fashioned themselves breeches.” It is complete with the Old Testament, New Testament & Apocrypha. Inside, there are quill pen writings and copied passages on the blank areas of pages, one of which is signed by a woman and dated 1689. Paper was not easily obtained in that period. People practiced writing on any blank area of paper they found. The copy is typed in Middle English and appears to be printed by press, each page printed individually. It is in remarkably well-preserved condition considering it’s complete and more than 400 years old. You may remember from history classes that 1607 was the year the Jamestown settlement was founded!
This Bible was handed down from a relative of the donor’s estate. The donor had kept it carefully for almost 20 years while searching for a museum or religious organization that would properly continue its preservation. After taking the course, ‘The Life of Christ’, the student felt such excitement and emotion and was so impressed by the cohort, ADVANTAGE, MCU, its faculty, and staff that the donor decided MCU was the most deserving recipient. Research is ongoing by the library and religion department into the history of this extremely rare book. The possibility of scanning each page for digital archival has been discussed. MCU is humbled by the generosity and personal sacrifice demonstrated through this amazing gift.
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