The University Record, November 9, 1998

Bible moves from papyrus to CD-ROM

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

The Bible has appeared in various forms as it evolved into the familiar King James version, and that evolutionary process is now illustrated on CD-ROM. The University of Michigan Press has released The Evolution of the English Bible: From Papyri to King James in a CD-format with an accompanying booklet of transcriptions and translations.

The Evolution of the English Bible provides an interactive, guided tour of the evolution of biblical text and images over the course of 16 centuries. Based on rare materials in the Special Collections Library, the CD-ROM contains several hundred images that trace the roots of the King James Bible, showing both its direct ancestors and related religious works dating from 119–1611 C.E. These works, written on papyrus, parchment and paper, provide a history of the text of the English Bible. The editors’ commentary offers insight into the historical details surrounding the texts, as well as the evolution of writing styles and book-making techniques.

Included on the CD-ROM are leaves from a papyrus codex in Greek of the Letters of St. Paul, dating from the second century C.E., and selected pages from bibles, including the first printed New Testament in Greek, the Wycliffe New Testament, the Tyndale New Testament, and a King James Bible printed in 1611.

Greek transcriptions and English translations of the selected papyrological texts are provided on the CD and in a supplemental booklet.

The interactive medium allows users to move among textual information and images of selected texts, zoom in to see close-ups of these images, learn about changes in the art of book making, and follow a timeline of events that provides the historical context for each item on the CD.

For more information, contact the U-M Press, 764-4394.

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