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BYU-Idaho obtains illustrious religious artifact

January 11, 2010

Writer: Writer: J. Rebecca Smith

Brigham Young University-Idaho recently purchased a fragmentary copy of the Gutenberg bible. The artifact is a one-page translation from the Latin Vulgate bible and is a section derived from the book of Job.


The page is in excellent condition, with the exception of a slightly worn edge on the lower right-hand corner. This, according to Martin Raish, university librarian, makes it more interesting and valuable. "Something like this torn page puts you in immediate contact with some other human being. It could have been a monk or a preacher in the 16th or 17th century. It makes the relic almost as important as the words," he declared.


Johannes Gutenberg printed approximately 180 bibles-140 on paper and 40 on vellum. Only about 46 are still in existence in some fragmentary condition, and of those, approximately 23 are complete. The most recent purchase of a completed Gutenberg bible took place around 25 years ago in Texas for $2 million. Now, a sale of a similar volume would equate to around $50 to $100 million.


The page will be available for viewing upon request. Please contact Andy Cargal at (208) 496-1537.