At the beginning of next month, the University of Edinburgh welcomes the Annual Meeting of the British New Testament Society, which will take place on 3- 5 Sept 2015. Currently on display in New College Library are three notable New Testaments from our Special Collections.
In the course of cataloguing we discovered this 1543 New Testament which includes a handwritten note suggesting that the volume was once intended for Queen Elizabeth I. While this provenance has yet to be verified, the note puts forward that the Testament was intended as a gift to her by William Fuller, an elder in John Knox’s congregation and one of the Marian exiles. The binding has an Elizabethan crown over the Tudor rose in the central panels.
Known as Andrew Melville’s Bible because of the inscription at the head of the title page, this item is part of a small collection which at one time was housed at John Knox House in Edinburgh. Andrew Melville (1545–1622) was a theologian, Biblical scholar and Presbyterian leader who had a scholarly career as Principal of Glasgow University and Principal of St Mary’s College, St Andrews University. He followed in the footsteps of John Knox as a defender of Reformation and Presbyterian principles, which at times set him in opposition with King James I of England and VI of Scotland.
This Greek New Testament Novum Testamentum Graece, is one of the earliest Bibles held at New College Library.
It was printed in Strassburg in 1524, during the period that Protestant reformer Martin Bucer was active there. Bucer was part of a significant group of reformers including Matthew Zell and Wolfgang Capito, and he corresponded with the theologians Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli. During his time in Strassburg he is known to have taught classes on books of the Bible so may have used a Greek Testament like this one. This copy has a number of manuscript inscriptions testifying to its former ownership and a printed book plate from James Walker, Christ Church.
All of these items were catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects here at New College Library.