Before Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the Western world, books were hard to find and highly valuable. Bibles were handwritten by monks and usually only clergy were able to own them. But the printing press allowed vendors to mass-produce books, newspapers, and magazines, making books and information cheaper and more accessible to everyone.
When Gutenberg created this revolutionary piece of technology, the first book he printed to distribute throughout the world was the Catholic Bible. Of all the works Gutenberg could have printed, why the Catholic Bible?
Little is known about Gutenberg other than the fact that he invented the printing press in Europe around 1450 and was a devout Catholic. After designing the printing press, he borrowed money to mass-produce Catholic bibles that could be sent throughout the world. It is believed that Gutenberg printed 180 copies of this bible, known as the Gutenberg Bible.
Many scholars note that what stands out about the Gutenberg Bible is how intricate and delicate this publication is, having been printed with high-quality materials. Today, only forty-nine copies of the Gutenberg Bible have survived.
So why is this bible so important to us? It’s important because the printing press helped spread information and ideas in a way that was not possible before. Thanks to Johannes Gutenberg, the fundamental teachings of Catholicism were able to flourish during this time.