|Primary Source Education Modules > The Gutenberg Bible|
|The Invention - Books Before and After - Johann Gutenberg - Facts about the Book - Activities - Glossary - Teacher Resources|
The Gutenberg Bible is not only an important artifact in the Ransom Center's collections, it is of world significance, which is why it is on permanent display in the gallery and housed in a special enclosure.
Knowledge about Gutenberg, his invention, and the historical influences and consequences of the first substantial book printed with movable type grows and changes as scholars uncover new information. Based on current understanding of our Gutenberg Bible, two themes, The Invention and Books Before and After Gutenberg, have been developed to tell the story of the invention and the rapid spread of this new technology.
Of course, the Gutenberg Bible can be a challenging resource to all learners because it is written in Latin. To lessen the frustration and difficulty of analyzing an object not written in English, the Center's experts have provided context and related objects to enable learners to make sense of their own observations.
Why should students study Johann Gutenberg?
- As an inventor, Gutenberg drew upon known technology and adapted it for new uses.
- Movable type and the printing press had a revolutionary impact on western civilization.
Just what did Johann Gutenberg invent? What need in society was he addressing with this invention? How did he adapt existing technology for a new use?
This theme focuses on what is known about how Gutenberg printed the Bible, why he chose a Bible for his first large-scale printing project, what the book looked like when first printed, and what is unique about the Ransom Center's copy.
When and where did writing begin? What were the tools and materials that ancient and medieval writers used? What were the innovations in reading and writing? What changed with printing?
This theme focuses on the technology and materials of writing from 3000 BCE to 1450 CE, from cuneiform tablets to medieval illuminated manuscripts. It then traces the social and cultural impact of printing technology upon the late medieval European world.
Activities for students ranging from K-12 are based on the content provided in the two themes, The Invention and Books Before and After Gutenberg. The images provided are designed to guide students in visual analysis and focused inquiry. Learning Activities are designed to help students think critically about Gutenberg and his times, record observations of artifacts, and generate questions about the Gutenberg Bible based on their observations.
Principal contributors to this website include:
April Garner, Project Coordinator