The Gudbrand Bible, 1584

The collection of Bibles in the Reference Library is large and contains, amongst other things, two of the oldest Danish folio Bibles, Christian III and Christian IV’s Bibles from 1550 and 1639 respectively. A particular rarity among the Bibles is the first complete Icelandic Bible, which the bishop of Hólar in the north of Iceland, Guðbrandur Þorláksson (Gudbrand Thorlakssøn), had translated and published by Jón Jónsson in 1584 with the support of Frederik II. The translation opens with Martin Luther’s forewords to his own Bible translation, which both Christian III’s Bible and The Gudbrand Bible are based on. The Bible is embellished with 29 woodcuts and 29 illuminated initials, and must be considered a milestone in Icelandic ecclesiastical and linguistic history. Today there are around 30 known copies of The Gudbrand Bible in the world.

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