Gutenberg Bible Mainz

Gutenberg Bible Mainz
digitized
with Cobra A2


Video

The famous 42-line Gutenberg Bible is considered to be the first book printed with movable type in the western world. It was created between 1452 and 1454 in Johannes Gutenberg’s printing workshop in Mainz, from which around 180 copies were produced. Of these, 30 were probably printed on precious parchment and around 150 on paper.Today, 49 of them are still known worldwide.

The design of the fonts and the printing in two columns adhere very closely to the appearance of contemporary manuscripts. Only the text was printed. Each buyer had the colourful decoration and the binding made independently by specialized craftsmen, the rubricators and illuminators. Each copy of the Gutenberg Bible is therefore unique. 

The print usually consists of two volumes in folio format, of which the first volume contains the first part of the Old Testament, the second volume mainly the prophets of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Exemplare der Gutenberg-Bibel im Tresorraum des Gutenberg-Museums Mainz
The Gutenberg-Museum in Mainz owns two editions of the Bible, bound in three volumes.
These are exhibited together with other precious works in the museum’s walk-in vault.

The Gutenberg Bible in numbers

copies

on parchment

on paper

copies worldwide

Project background

The Gutenberg-Museum in Mainz holds two editions of the Bible, bound in three volumes. These are exhibited together with other precious works in the museum’s walk-in vault.
 
For the digitization project of the precious Mainz editions, the MICROBOX GmbH is providing the Gutenberg Museum with the special V-shape high-resolution scanner book2net Cobra A2.
 
This scanner with its gentle V-shape bookcradle and conservational lighting system was developed specifically for the digitization of the most precious illuminated manuscripts and incunabula.

 

book2net Cobra A2 V-Scanner in Gutenberg Museum Mainz
book2net Cobra A2 V-Scanner in Gutenberg Museum Mainz / © D. Ghemires
Digitization of the Gutenberg Bible by an employee of the museum and an employee of the company MICROBOX
Digitization of the Gutenberg Bible by an employee of the museum and an employee of the company MICROBOX / © D. Ghemires
Close-up of the laser for precise adjustment of the book center
Close-up of the laser for precise adjustment of the book center © Gutenberg-Museum, Mainz
Mitarbeiterin des Museums überprüft die fertigen Scans am Bildschirm
Museum employee checks the finished scans on the screen © Gutenberg-Museum, Mainz
11.03.2024 Press event at the Gutenberg Museum on the occasion of the digitization of the Gutenberg Bible
11.03.2024 Press event at the Gutenberg Museum on the occasion of the digitization of the Gutenberg Bible / © D. Ghemires

book2net action

MICROBOX is making its book scanner book2net Cobra A2 available to the museum for the duration of the project. The digitization will be carried out by museum staff after intensive training and with the support of MICROBOX specialists.

Results

A total of around 2000 pages will be digitized. The digital copies will later be made available to researchers and the public online via the  Gutenberg Capture platform of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

See Cobra

Further Case Studies