Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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The Ransom Center's Gutenberg Bible.

When you look at the Gutenberg Bible, you will see that it is very difficult to read.


That is because the Bible is written in Latin.


If you look carefully at the pages, you will find that:


Most of the pages have two columns with 42 lines of text.


Titles and instructions for reading out loud were painted by hand in red ink. These words are not part of the original printed text.


The large letters (illuminations) at the beginning of a passage were added by hand in red, blue, and green paint, or even expensive gold leaf.


There are even mistakes in the Gutenberg Bible! Some words are crossed out with corrections written in the margins.


Gutenberg bought paper from papermakers who marked their pages with watermarks, or lightly visible designs, on the pages. If you could hold a page up to the light, you would see a cluster of grapes, a bull's head, or a running ox.

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