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Size Matters – Bible sizes of the 16th Century

December 17, 2023  -  Comments 0
Did you know . . .
Bibles in English, starting with the 1539 Great Byble (that’s the way it was spelled), were designed primarily for use in churches. These were typically 12-16 inches tall, or FOLIO size, for easy readability during worship services. There was no expectation at that time that Bibles would be used for personal or home use. However, beginning with the Geneva Bible of 1560, personal use Bibles became increasingly fashionable, because the editorial notes in the margins of the Geneva Bibles were intended as study aids, in defense of a Reformed (Calvinistic) interpretation. The Geneva Bibles were smaller than those designed for church use, about 9 inches tall, or QUARTO size. As personal usage Bibles became more and more popular, their sizes decreased to about 6 inches tall, or OCTAVO size. Some New Testaments were even smaller, about 5 inches tall, or DUODECIMO size. But the most popular size, continued by the King James Bible of 1611, up to the present time, was the QUARTO size Bible about 8″ x 6″. Although The King James Bible produced a few FOLIO sized Bibles, the lion’s share were QUARTO size. QUARTO size leaves are available on our website under the “”Bifold Portfolio”” Category, while FOLIO size leaves are mostly found under the “Archival Booklet” Category.
Below is a short video to show you examples of these Bibles.

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