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The Whole Byble. That is the holy scripture of the Olde and Newe Testament
Zurich : Chrostopher Froschover, 1550.

Image from Bible 1550

This book represents the first translation of the complete Bible into English. In 1534, the new English Church petitioned for an English translation of the scriptures to be produced. By denying the supremacy of the Papacy, Henry VIII had raised the scriptures above the authority of Rome, making it imperative that they be published and the King as supreme ecclesiastical head reserved the sole right to authorize publication of an English Bible. It was Miles Coverdale (1488-1568) who was to produce this.

Coverdale's Bible was printed, probably at Marburg, in 1535, and was inscribed to Henry, "our Moses". Coverdale sent copies of his Bible to England for review by the King. Henry VIII turned it over to various Bishops for comment. When they replied that it contained many errors Henry asked if it contained any heresies. Answered in the negative it was given Royal permission to circulate.

Coverdale wrote beautiful melodious prose, no more so than in the Psalter which was used in the Book of Common Prayer and has come down to us today. Many famous phrases such as "Thou anointest my head with oil", "the valley of the shadow of death", "sufficient unto the day", and "I am as sounding brass" all come from Coverdale.

Some sixty-five copies of the 1535 edition are known to survive, none of which are complete. This copy is a revised edition, printed in 1550, the last to be issued in the translator's lifetime.

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