Feb 23, 1455 CE: Gutenberg Bible Published

Feb 23, 1455 CE: Gutenberg Bible Published

On February 23, 1455, many scholars agree that the Gutenberg Bible, one the first books created with moveable type in Western Europe, was published in Mainz, Germany.


9 - 12


English Language Arts, Social Studies, World History

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On February 23, 1455, many scholars agree that the Gutenberg Bible was published in Mainz, Germany. The Gutenberg Bible was one of the first books created on a printing press with moveable metal type. (China and Korea had been using the technology for more than a hundred years.) Moveable type consists of blocks of individual letters and symbols that can quickly be arranged and re-arranged to create different words and phrases. The type is then coated with ink and pressed into paper or vellum, an expensive parchment made of animal skin. The Gutenberg Bible is named after its creator, Johannes Gutenberg. Gutenberg himself invented the wooden printing press, metal types, and oil-based ink used in the new printing process. Historians think Gutenberg printed about 160-180 Bibles in 1455. Today, 48 Gutenberg Bibles survive in whole or in part. Before publication of the Gutenberg Bible, all Western manuscripts had to be hand-copied, which could take years and cost the wages of an entire lifetime. Books were rare and limited to very wealthy individuals, churches or monasteries, or universities. Although Gutenberg Bibles were still relatively rare and expensive, the technology set off the so-called “Gutenberg Revolution,” which made books and knowledge available to almost all literate people.

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Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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