Early Printed Bibles in Latin
In the late 30s - early 40s of the 15th century, Johann Gutenberg created the printing press with replaceable metal letters. Gutenberg solved a complex technical problem how to cast the individual letters on equal metal bodies uniformly. The letters could be combined into lines of type for printing a large number of copies of the text. The first book to be published using Gutenberg's invention became the now famous Gutenberg Bible. Two editions of the book were released: the 42-line (the number of lines per page) Bible of Mainz and 36-line Bamberg Bible.
The 42-line Bible was printed in Mainz between 1452 and 1455. It is justly considered to be a magnificent gem of the art of printing. At the same time, this printed book was specially designed to look like a manuscript book. To achieve a such phenomenal similarity, Gutenberg produced elaborated types for the bible, which included 47 capital letters and 243 lower-case letters.
In order to equal the quality of the illuminated manuscripts, early printed books tended to imitate hand-written books. So printing business involves a fair share of manual labor. For each copy, it was necessary to fill in by hand large capital letters - the initials, or, to paint headings in cinnabar red as it was done in the 36-line Bible printed about 1460 in Bamberg. However, the necessity of the latter was caused not so much by an imitation of the hand-written book, as by the fact that Gutenberg's technology was not been able to cope with two-colour printing.48-line Bible issued by Fust and Schoeffer
Meanwhile, the early printers did not limited themselves to large size luxury publications. Among the early printed Bibles were quite a few that have more modest design, which the monastery and university audience could indulge. This ensured the availability of publications to the audience, in which they, in fact, were in demand - the monastery and university.