Pocket Bibles

Before the thirteenth century, Bibles were generally produced in multiple volumes. But in the 1200s, the one-volume format became more standard in Europe. They became known as “Pocket” Bibles, named for their size and portability. Around the same time, Bibles called “Paris Bibles” became popular. These Bibles had text in two columns, a standard order of books, and included chapter divisions. The chapter system is most often attributed to Stephen Langton, but was likely developed earlier. These medieval chapter divisions are very similar to the system used in today’s Bibles. The Paris Pocket Bibles, as they were known, became even more popular as friars and Dominicans traveled in Italy, and eventually England, preaching extensively and using these new, easy-to-carry, pocket Bibles.

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