Typo? Or fraud? The Story of the Infamous Wicked Bible

Typo? Or fraud? The Story of the Infamous Wicked Bible
17 April 2024 J.W.H

The Holy Bible consistently ranks among the many best-selling books on the planet. It is an inspiration to thousands and thousands of believers and is perceived by many because the direct word of God. Whether that is true or not is fairly a matter of religion. It is true, nevertheless, that the physical form that the Bible takes was created by the hands of fallible humans.

The results of this clash between man and the sacred can sometimes be downright funny. One such incident occurred in 1631, when a seemingly innocent typo drastically modified one in all the Ten Commandments.

The resulting text caused quite a stir on the time. These copies of the text that survived destruction, often called the “Bad Bible,” remain one in all the rarest and most sought-after Bibles on the planet.

The birth of wickedness

The story began innocently enough. King Charles I of England ordered 1,000 copies of the King James Bible from London printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas. However, you have to understand that printing back then was not as easy because it is today.

Early printing presses required printers to manually set each type letter. This process was tedious and tedious, even though it was significantly better than the previous method of making books, which required laborious hand-copying of texts. Still, printing was an error-prone process and required careful, keen-eyed proofreaders to catch errors.

Apparently Barker and Lucas's proofreader was bad at his job, because there was a critical error in the discharge. It was discovered only after 1,000 copies had been sold. One of the Ten Commandments, specifically the seventh, was missing the word “no.” So the text was, “You shall commit adultery.”

Needless to say, the error (if it was one) caused confusion. King Charles I and the Archbishop of Canterbury were outraged by the typo. Barker and Lucas were taken to court and fined £300 (£35,000 today) and disqualified from printing.

All available copies of the so-called “Bad Bibles” were collected and destroyed. Only a dozen copies are said to have survived, although some dispute this number because so many copies were sold before the remake was found.

In any case, it’s a rare book and highly wanted by collectors. It is difficult to assign a worth to such text because other aspects, equivalent to the standard of the specimen, influence the equation. Taking this under consideration, the worth per unit is $99,500. Most copies are probably value much less since it's full retail price, but it surely gives you an idea of ​​what collectors may be willing to pay for this rare book.

Typo? Or a joke?

It is usually accepted that the infamous omission of the word “not” was an easy error resulting from the cumbersome and error-prone printing means of the seventeenth century. However, there are reasons to consider that it might have been intentional.

First, there may be one other such error, this time in Deuteronomy. In chapter 5, verse 24, the word “greatness” is replaced by the word “big ass.” So the text says that God showed his glory and his “big butt.”

One unlucky typo is one thing, but two are starting to indicate a pattern. George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, believed that the error was as a result of shoddy workmanship. He was quoted saying:

“I knew the times when great importance was attached to printing, especially the Bible, good composers and the best proofreaders were obtained from serious and learned men, and paper and letters were rare and honest in every respect, but now the newspaper is nothing, composers are boys, and unlearned proofreaders.

It is worth noting that he said that the composers were “boys”. The mistakes are sophomoric in nature, especially the “big ass” line.

It sounds like something a bored teenager would slip into a text message thinking no one is looking. Perhaps the printers employed the late medieval equivalent of temporary workers, and the disgruntled young man subtly changed the text of the print to taunt his employer or just for fun. Maybe he expected the “proofreader” to catch the error before the book was printed.

We can never be sure whether this was the case or not. Simple human error could have inadvertently created one of the most infamous Bibles in history, but due to the nature of “typos” it seems more likely that the prankster was bored.

Either way, the Bad Bible will remain a historical curiosity, a testament to the incontrovertible fact that even humanity's most sacred works may be fraught with a really human trait: imperfection.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”