The Offer


This Biblical Archives offer is of ONE original hand coloured illustrated leaf from the Eleventh High German Bible published by Johann Schönsperger in May 1487. This offer comes with a Certificate of Historicity. Measurements: approx. 11 3/4"x 8 1/4". Location: 3.8a

Biblical Art


Biblical Art


The artistic adornment of the Bible is an important aspect of the Biblical tradition. We often speak of the Living Word, the written Word and the spoken Word but have you ever considered the value of the visual Word of God? By this it is meant images conveying the essential message of the Bible for those who could not read. The walls and ceilings of ancient churches were beautified with scenes of Biblical stories informing those for whom the Word of God was a mystery of the essence of eternal truths. The advent of the printing press in 1455 introduced the written word to millions who had never before had the opportunity to learn to read for themselves. Books became affordable and the quest for knowledge the highest pursuit. But for those who could not read the picture/illustration still remained the main avenue to unlocking the mysteries of God's word.


The German Bible


Prior to Martin Luther's new translation of the Bible published in 1534 there were eighteen German Bibles that appeared in Germany between 1466 and 1522. The pioneer printer, Johannes Gutenberg used the Latin translation (Vulgate), which was the accepted Bible of the Church, for his Gutenberg Bible. In just a short time, a decade only, there was a demand from both the clergy and the middle-classes for a vernacular Bible in German.


Hans Bämler


The tradition of illustrating Bibles dates back a thousand years before Johann Schönsperger commissioned the popular artisan Hans Bämler, who incidentally was his father-in-law, to a make a new set of illustrations for what we now know was the eleventh High German Bible to be printed prior to Luther's new translation. It appears Bämler took inspiration for some of his illustrations from an earlier Koberger Bible, perhaps a 1483 edition. 

Hans Bämler was a multi-talented craftsman who became an important figure in the life of Augsburg, Germany in the 15th century. He is, "mentioned in Augsburgian city records from 1453 as a scribe and from 1477 as a printer. He appears to have begun his career as an illuminator and calligrapher [...]. He probably learned the art of print-making in the shop of Gunther Zainer [the first printer in Augsburg]. The first printed book by Bämler appeared in April 1472, and the first illustrated printed book from his workshop in September 1473. [...] Approximately half of the books printed in his printing office were illustrated with woodcuts or other decorative elements. He belonged to the guild of painters, glassmakers, woodcut-makers and goldbeaters, and eventually reached a high position within the guild. His printing activity ceased in 1495". Wikipedia


Johann Schönsperger


Johann Schönsperger set up a print shop in 1481 with the goldsmith Thomas Rüger and worked closely with his stepfather Johann Bämler. The company, along with other printers from Augsburg, was able to dominate the book market for German literature in Augsburg between 1480 and 1500. In 1507 Schönsperger went bankrupt and did not recover financially. In 1508 he probably became the secret printer of Emperor Maximilian I through Konrad Peutinger. 






[10] And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. [11] Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. [12] So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. [13] He had also seven sons and three daughters. [14] And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch. [15] And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. [16] After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. [17] So Job died, being old and full of days.




[1] Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. [2] But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. [3] And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. [4] The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. [5] Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. [6] For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


The Offer


This Biblical Archives offer is of ONE original hand coloured illustrated leaf from the Eleventh High German Bible published by Johann Schönsperger in May 1487. This offer comes with a Certificate of Historicity. Measurements: approx. 11 3/4" x 8 1/4". Location: 3.8a

1487 Eleventh High German Bible - Job 42 & Psalm 1

  • Some Bible leaves are hard to look at and others look as new as the day they left the press. The condition of a particular Bible  leaf reflects its history and is not an indication of its true value. Perfect leaves are ones that have seen little or no use over the centuries in contrast to those that are scarred by the ravages of time. Unblemished leaves are unloved leaves because they have had little contact with sinners. Imperfect leaves tell a story, some are torn and ripped and warn away by excessive use while other's have burns or worm holes and still others are water stained by flood and sometimes even tears. Each ugly mark or stain is in fact a beautiful witness to the Word of God, which “… liveth and abideth forever.” The basis for pricing our Biblical leaves and other artefacts is based on: 1) the age 2) the rarity of the object 3) the popularity of the text and finally 4) the condition. All printed and manuscript leaves are sold as is. We offer a 30 day refund upon receipt of the leaf/object in the same pre-sale condition. Buyer pays for retrun shipping. All objects and leaves are photographed prior to being shipped.