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The Worms Bible – the first complete protestant Bible of 1529

A new trade had been established since the second half of the 15th century with the invention of the art of printing – that of the printer.

The Worms Bible of 1529, Stadtbibliothek Worms 
The Worms Bible of 1529, Stadtbibliothek Worms

”Prophetae omnes Germaniae donati, scilicet omnia praeveniunt, nihil sumus nos!”

Freely translated: “All the prophets have appeared in German; they have anticipated us: we are nothing!”

Thus writes Luther because two translators, the Anabaptists Hans Denck and Ludwig Hätzer, had pre-empted him with their translation of The Prophets. The Bible translators were engaged in a race during the Reformation period.   


The printers seem to have applied pressure in this respect; it was not fast enough for them. As soon as something was finished, they literally tore it out of the author’s hand and issued a special impression. 

The most important and most famous Worms printer Peter Schöffer wanted to publish a complete Bible and he did this in 1529, by combining parts of the Luther and Zurich Bible in such a way that it was complete. He no longer used the translation of The Prophets of 1527, which he had printed twice, so as not to come under suspicion of being in league with Anabaptists. There is an example of this rare issue of 1529 in the City Library.