JOB 39:18-42:5. “CORAM DEO – Standing Before God”. Folio ed. Tyndale/Coverdale translation; printed in London by Wyllyam Bonham or Nicholas Hyll, 1551. Herbert 92. SUPERIOR condition. Slightly shaved outer margin. 3 Huge Woodcut Initials [“W” and “T” coincidentally, perhaps, on one side – William Tyndale?]. This Bible mostly represents Tyndale’s translation (though portions of the OT may have been reworked by Coverdale), published posthumously by John Rogers using the pseudonym Thomas Matthew (1537). Quite a nice leaf.
Is the “W” and “T” woodcut-initial combination (8-lines each) on this leaf deliberate? Examining all the initials in the Book of Job from this Bible: The woodcut initials “W” and “T” occur in correct order just once, in Ch. 41 and 42. Of the 42 Chapters, there are three (3) 3-line initials, seventeen (17) 4-line initials, four (4) 5-line initials, twelve (12) 6-line initials, and six (6) 8-line initials. The 8-line initials only appear in Ch. 17, 38-42; the last five chapters having 8-line initials. On the one hand, the larger initials are bunched up at the end, and the first initial to Ch. 1 is only a 6-line woodcut initial. On the other hand, it is difficult to see the 8-line initials “W” and “T” on a single side as a coincidence, meaning that the bunch-up at the end is a cover-up for the bold declaration at the end. I therefore adjudge the probability of a deliberate reference to William Tyndale by these initials as 75% in favor.