American Minute with Bill Federer AUG. 24 - Gutenberg and 'the Book of books'
American Minute with Bill Federer
AUG. 24 - Gutenberg and 'the Book of books'
in 175 AD, during the Han Dynasty, Chinese scholars placed paper over
stone engravings of Confucius text and made rubbings with charcoal.
developed into laying paper over raised stone letters covered with ink,
a technique which spread to other countries like Japan, where a Nara
Empress printed a Buddhist charm in 768 AD.
Using a method with
carved wooden or baked clay blocks, China, during the Tang Dynasty,
created what could be considered the first 'printed' book in 868 AD.
China eventually introduced the invention of printed 'paper currency' during the Song Dynasty.
The shear number of Chinese characters, though, over 50,000, hindered them from making further printing innovations.
during the Goryeo Dynasty, invented the first metal moveable type
printing press, and, in 1443, Korean Emperor Sejong the Great introduced
a 24-letter han'gul alphabet which made printing practical.
nearly the same time, on the other side of the world, Johannes
Gutenberg invented the Western world's first metal moveable type
Western civilization had long been using a phonetic alphabet, dating back to a Semitic alphabet around 1500 BC.
It was not until 1400 AD that Europeans first began using carved wooden blocks applied with ink to print religious messages.
On AUGUST 24, 1455, Gutenberg printed his masterpiece, the Gutenberg Bible, regarded as the first book of significance ever printed.
No longer copied tediously by hand and chained to pulpits, Bibles were soon mass produced.
Gutenberg, whose name means "beautiful mountain," wrote of his 42-line Gutenberg Bible, also called the Mazarin Bible, 1455:
"God suffers in the multitude of souls whom His word can not reach.
Religious truth is imprisoned in a small number of manuscript books which confine instead of spread the public treasure.
us break the seal which seals up holy things and give wings to Truth in
order that she may win every soul that comes into the world by her word
no longer written at great expense by hands easily palsied, but
multiplied like the wind by an untiring machine..."
it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in
inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that
has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of men.
Through it, God
will spread His word; a spring of pure truth shall flow from it; like a
new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light
hithertofore unknown to shine among men."
In March of 1455, future Pope Pius II wrote in a letter to Cardinal Carvajal:
that has been written to me about that marvelous man seen at Frankfurt
is true. I have not seen complete Bibles but only a number of quires of
various books of the Bible.
The script was very neat and
legible, not at all difficult to follow - your grace would be able to
read it without effort, and indeed without glasses."
for Gutenberg, he had borrowed 8,000 guilders from Johann Fust, who
sued him at the archbishop's court in 1456 and took the print shop,
leaving Gutenberg bankrupt.
Gutenberg re-started a smaller print shop, and participated in the printing of Bibles in the town of Bamberg.
invention was considered the most important event of the modern period
as it began a printing revolution which significantly influenced
Europe's Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and the
Napoleon introduced the printing press to Egypt when he invaded in 1798.
On August 12, 1993, Pope John Paul II gave a rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible to President Bill Clinton at Denver's Regis University.
The Pope, with Vice-President Al Gore in attendance, then addressed over 375,000 at Cherry Creek State Park, August 15, 1993:
no other time in history, the 'culture of death' has assumed a social
and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes
against humanity...massive taking of lives of human beings even before
they are born...
Any reference to a 'law' guaranteed by the
Creator is absent...No longer is anything considered intrinsically
'good' and 'universally binding'...
Vast sectors of society are
confused about what is right and what is wrong and are at the mercy of
those with the power to 'create' opinion and impose it on others...."
Pope John Paul II continued:
"The family especially is under attack...
The weakest members of society are the most at risk. The unborn, children, the sick, the handicapped, the old...
Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places...This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel.
It is a time to preach it from the rooftops...You must feel the full urgency of the task.
Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life."
The word "Bible" comes from the Greek word 'biblia' meaning books.
the invention of the printing press in mid-1400's, the Holy Bible has
been the most printed book in all history, at an estimated 6 billion
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated October 6, 1935:
"The four hundredth anniversary of the printing of the first English Bible is an event of great significance...
The...influence of this greatest of books...so greatly affected the progress of Christian civilization...
Book continues to hold its unchallenged place as the most loved, the
most quoted and the most universally read and pondered of all the
It continues to hold its supreme place as the Book of books."