An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United by Paul Gutjahr

By Paul Gutjahr

"An American Bible is a very compelling piece of cultural heritage that succeeds in making wealthy instead of schematic feel of the most important dramas that lay in the back of the construction of over 1,700 diverse American versions of the Bible within the century after the yank Revolution. Gutjahr's publication is principally strong in demonstrating how nineteenth-century efforts to purge the Bible of textual and translational impurities looking for an 'authentic' textual content led satirically to the emergence of solely new gospels just like the Book of Mormon and the large fictionalized literature facing the lifetime of Christ."
―Jay Fliegelman,
Stanford University

During the 1st three-quarters of the 19th century, American publishing skilled extraordinary, exponential development. An rising industry financial system, common non secular revival, academic reforms, and strategies in print know-how labored jointly to create a tradition more and more shaped and framed by way of the facility of print. on the heart of this new tradition was once the Bible, the ebook that has been known as "the most sensible vendor" in American publishing background. but it is very important observe that the Bible in the USA used to be now not an easy, uniform entity. First published within the usa in the course of the American Revolution, the Bible underwent many revisions, translations, and adjustments in layout as various editors and publishers appropriated it to satisfy a variety of altering ideological and monetary demands.
This ebook examines what number diversified constituencies (both secular and spiritual) fought to maintain the Bible the preeminent textual content within the usa because the country's print market skilled explosive development. the writer exhibits how those heated battles had profound effects for plenty of American cultural practices and varieties of published fabric. by way of exploring how publishers, priests, politicians, educators, and lay people met the danger that new revealed fabric posed to the dominance of the Bible by way of altering either its shape and its contents, the writer unearths the factors and outcomes of mutating God's supposedly immutable be aware.

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Although other publishers could not beat the Society's bible prices, they could outdo the Society's bibles in terms of ornamentation and content.  142 This upward trend rose to 59 percent in the 1870s.  As the Society continued to churn out hundreds of thousands of cheaper bibles and testaments, other book publishers quickly realized that profit and survival in the bible market could more easily be found in areas left alone by the American Bible Society.  Rather than helping facilitate Boudinot's dream of national and moral unity by building a city on a hill (of bibles), the Society had helped lay the foundation for a new type of Tower of Babel.

He often dined with various members of the Congress at the London Coffee House near his shop, and he used these connections to become the Congress's official printer, publishing the Congressional Journal.  In 1777, he published the first English New Page 21 63 Testament printed in the colonies.  From the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania he secured a loan, and from the Continental Congress he secured a written endorsement that he placed as a preface to his bible edition. 69 As it became clear that Aitken was going to lose a fortune on his bible FIGURE 1.

85 Charless was in charge of the printing, but the binding was handed over to the professional bookbinders of the day. FIGURE 2.  Many a reader may have thought the Bible to contain priceless content, but publishers were well aware of the price­filled world it was called to inhabit. "87 Publishers began to produce bibles in a wide range of sizes and formats.  He offered his customers a range of bibles printed on different kinds of paper, bound in different Page 27 kinds of leathers, set in different sizes of type, and furnished with a wide variety of maps and pictures.

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