As December 25th approaches, we wanted to share a significant part of the oldest bible in our Library and Rare Documents collection at Salisbury House: the traditional Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20. Our oldest bible dates to 1483 (for more on this and other incunabula in our collection, click here), and its text is, as one would expect, in Latin.
Below, the bible is open to the section in Luke wherein the Christmas story is told. Luke 2 begins on the left page, at the very bottom of the left-hand column of text:
Here’s a closer detail of this page (look for the rubrics, in red ink, that indicate the start of the second chapter):
Want to read along? Here is a handy, side-by-side reading of the Christmas story:
It can be a bit of a slog – but a rewarding slog! – to read the English version of the Christmas story alongside its 1483 Latin counterpart. Happy holidays!
Note: The Salisbury House Library Collection is now housed at Grinnell College, where it is being digitized and studied. To learn more about the collection, check out the Special Collections Website.