Gutenberg 42-line Bible. Mainz, Germany, c. 1455. Paper

Gutenberg 42-line Bible. [Mainz: Gutenberg], c.1455. On paper.

The Gutenberg Bible printed by Johann Gutenberg, a goldsmith in Mainz, Germany, in the 15th century, was the first bible printed using movable type in the West. Letterpress printing, gunpowder, and the compass are said to be the three major inventions of the Renaissance period that changed the order of the world, and the printing technology invented by Gutenberg would afterward quickly spread across the whole of Europe, becoming one of the driving forces that accelerated the Protestant Reformation and Scientific Revolution. The main text of the Gutenberg Bible uses jet black Gothic type, and the bible is also called the "42-line Bible" since most pages contain 42 lines of print. There are two versions of the bible, one type printed on parchment and the other on paper. It is thought that roughly 180 copies were printed at the time, but at present, fewer than 50 copies including incomplete volumes have been confirmed to exist. The Keio University Library is in possession of one copy of the first volume printed on paper, and is known as the only library in Asia to hold a Gutenberg Bible in its collection.

For a more detailed explanation, please see Incunabula Collection 036, "42-line Bible," on the Digital Collections of Keio University Libraries.