The Book of Revelation I

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things that must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the prophecy of this book.

Revelation 22:6-7

At right: The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, newly translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared and revised. By His Majesty's special command. Oxford: Printed by John Baskett, Printer to the University, 1726.

Biblia Sacra vulgate editionis

Biblia Sacra vulgate editionis, Sixti V. Pont. Max. iussu recognita atque edita. Venetiis: Apud Iuntas, [1627]. Gift of Reverend William Wyllie

The Book of Revelation has a long history itself. For Christians of the early Church, the events in the Book of Revelation primarily symbolized the actions of Christ and His Church and only symbolized political events secondarily. This view has its source in the twentieth book of Saint Augustine of Hippo's City of God.

The Bibles of Roman Catholics, such as the two Latin Bibles on display here, were often illustrated with woodcuts that depicted John's vision so that even the illiterate could understand the events it symbolized. For Protestants such as John Foxe, however, the Book of Revelation described the political events in which he was engulfed, namely, the struggles of the English Reformation.

Biblia Sacra

Gift of N. Willis.

At right: Biblia Sacra, ad veritatem hebraicam, & probatissimorum exemplarium fidem summa diligentia castigata; cum figuris & descriptionibus etiam chorographicis, quibus variorum edificiorum ac operum structure, atque regiones ob omnium oculos ponuntur. Accesserunt praeterea, hebraicorum, chaldaeorum, graecorum nominum interpretationes, & copiosissimi indices. Lugduni: Apud Bartholomaeum Vincentium, 1568.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs was arguably the most widely read book in English after the Bible itself, and its depiction of the war of the Church and the Antichrist set the tone for English and American apocalyptic preachers for 250 years. Carried across the Atlantic by the first American settlers, Foxe's book bequeathed a historical timeline that allowed them to interpret current events in light of the events of the Apocalypse, as we see in "The Order of Time" from an English Bible circa 1607. This timeline was so pervasive in American life of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that it could well be said to stretch from the cradle to the grave, and beyond to the resurrection of the dead.

John Foxe. The Book of Martyrs. I

Gift of Mrs. Patricia J. Edgerton.

At right and above: John Foxe. The New and Complete Book of Martyrs. Or, An universal history of martyrdom containing the whole of Fox's Book of Martyrs originally composed and written by the Rev. and celebrated Mr. John Fox, the whole newly revised, corrected, modernized, and improved with editions and great improvements by Paul Wright, D.D. London: Printed for Alex Hogg at the King's-Arms, No. 16. Paternoster Row, [1784].

At right: St. Augustine of Hippo. Diui Aurelij Augustini De summa Trinitate libri quindecim opus prorsus diuini cui Theologice veritates illuminati doctoris Francisci Maronis aptissime conectutur. Basileae: Iohanis Koburger, 1515. From the Stone Typography Collection.