Bible Errata

14 05 2010

In Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman refer to the “Buggre All This” Bible of 1651. In this Bible, according to their description, Ezekiel 48:2-6 read as follows:

2. And bye the border of Dan, fromme the east side to the west side, a portion for Afher.
3. And bye the border of Afhter, fromme the east side even untoe the west side, a portion for Naphtali.
4. And bye the border of Naphtali, from the east side untoe the west side, a portion for Manaffeh.
5. Buggre all this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of typefettinge. Master Biltonn if no Gentelmann, and Master Scagges noe more than a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbefticke. I telle you, onne a daye laike thif Ennywone half an oz. of Sense should bee oute in the Sunneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the liuelong daie inn thif mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workefhoppe. @*Ӯ@;!*
6 And bye the border of Ephraim, from the east fide even untoe the west fide, a portion for Reuben.

Having read this book some fifteen years ago at least, this hilarious passage was my introduction to the world of Bible errata. While fictitious, it is not considerably stranger than some of the errata that do actually exist, and interested readers can look at the Wikipedia entry for a reasonably comprehensive list of them. One in particular is worth noting, as it is presently up for sale.

Printed in 1631, the KJV “Wicked Bible” lacks the negative adverb in the seventh commandment. Enjoining its readers to commit adultery, the Bible was promptly made illegal, and its two printers fined an exorbitant fee and stripped of their printing licenses. All one thousand copies were ordered destroyed by the crown, though collectors will be interested to note that eleven survived the flames. Until now, those copies have either been on display in museums or locked away by collectors, though a copy is presently up for sale at Those who have $89,500 to spare on a priceless investment can view the listing on this page. Personally, I would be inclined to save myself $4,500 and buy a first-edition Geneva Bible instead (listed on the same page), but that’s just me.

I came frighteningly close to mortgaging my house in order to get this, though luckily remembered at the last minute that I don’t have one. If I ever do, I think it’s safe to say that it won’t be for long.



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