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The Wicked Bible on Display


A 1900 edition of the Holy Bible

A 1900 edition of the Holy Bible

In 1631, a reprint of the King James Bible was printed in London.

It contained a typographical error. Not too unusual in and of itself, but as we know, some typos are more memorable than others, and this one was a blunder of biblical proportions.

In the portion of the tome dedicated to the Ten Commandments, the word ‘not’ was left out of the commandment intended to read “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, resulting in the commandment reading as “Thou shalt commit adultery.

The gaffe was not discovered immediately, and a number of copies were distributed before the error came to light. When the discovery was made, King Charles the I had a fit, served the printers with a huge fine, and ordered all editions of the so-called “Wicked Bible” rounded up and burned.

The number of copies that survived is low, and true Wicked Bibles are extremely rare to come across, and highly prized by collectors. We only have one copy of The Wicked Bible for sale on all of AbeBooks, selling for just under $80,000.

If you’re in the Toronto area, you have the chance to see a copy for yourself until June 3rd – the The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto has a Wicked Bible on display until June 3, along with dozens of other rare and fascinating Bibles.

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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