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August 16, 2021

Illustrated Bibles

Walk into any religious bookstore today and you’ll find dozens of illustrated Bibles. And not just for children; there are plenty for adults, too, like the Illustrated Study Bible. It includes more than one thousand images that bring the Bible to life for its readers. It’s hardly a new idea. Around the fifth century, an illustrated copy of the four Gospels was produced in Ethiopia, complete with seventeen illustrations, including portraits of the Gospel writers and the temple of Solomon. Other ancient, illustrated biblical works include a portion of a fifth-century Latin translation of 1 Samuel and a sixth-century Byzantine manuscript of Matthew and Mark. People continued to illustrate Bibles by hand through the Middle Ages. Even when Gutenberg started printing Bibles in the 1450s, many of the illustrations were still done by hand. Other hallmarks of illustrated Bible production in recent centuries include an 1866 French edition illustrated by Gustave Doré, whose drawings are regarded as some of the most iconic in the history of illustrated Bibles. There is also a 1910 best-selling children’s Bible by Harold Copping, and a 1969 edition of the Bible illustrated by Salvador Dalí. Today, the best-selling Bible at is The Jesus Storybook Bible, a children’s book by Sally Lloyd-Jones. And yes, you guessed it, it’s illustrated.

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