Two significant instruments of interpretation are applied on this page of the Bishops’ Bible (1568): geography and chronology. The map is a close copy of one that appeared first in the French and then in the English Geneva Bibles of 1559 and 1560; this is the period in which it first became common for maps and diagrams to accompany the text of scripture, as it remains common to this day. As noted in the 1608 English translation of Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, ‘the knowledge of Geography and skill of Mappes and Chartes, is necessary for the vnderstanding of […] both the Testaments’. Here sacred geography is joined by a ‘Table of Times’ that charts the life and itinerary of Paul against the ‘yeeres’ of the Roman empire and its client states in the Holy Land, as well as in terms of the incarnation of Christ, that is, anni domini. As in Broughton’s Concent of Scripture, this bible’s table invites the reader to join the skill of times to that of spaces, providing a historical chart of the peregrinations of Saint Paul that can be cross-referenced with the map in an active engagement with the progress of the text. This method of active reading formed a key component of the reforming project to encourage lay readership and understanding of the scriptures. BW
The Holie Bible, conteyning the olde testament and the newe (London: R. Jugge, 1568).
By kind permission of Bible Society
Elizabeth Ingram, ‘Maps as Readers’ Aids: Maps and Plans in Bibles’, Imago Mundi 45 (1993), pp. 29-44.
Catherine Delano-Smith, ‘Maps as Art and Science: Maps in Sixteenth Century Bibles’, Imago Mundi 42 (1990), pp. 65-83.
Elizabeth Ingram and Catherine Delano-Smith, Maps in Bibles, 1500-1600: An Illustrated Catalogue (Geneva, 1991).