The Bible that never happened

Balthasar Moretus' Papal Bible

In 1620, Balthasar I Moretus came up with a plan to produce a new edition of the Biblia Regia. He wanted to outdo his grandfather by also adding the text of the Bible in Arabic. It would be the ultimate prestige project of the 17th century... but due to the ambiguous attitude of the Vatican it never came to fruition.

Outdoing Plantin

In 1620, Balthasar came up with a plan to produce a new edition of the Biblia Regia, a multilingual Bible that Plantin had printed in the 16th century. He wanted to outdo his grandfather by also adding the text of the Bible in Arabic. It would be a proper Papal Bible, the ultimate prestige project of the 17th century. Balthasar spared neither expense nor effort. He worked with a Jesuit from Douai who prepared the new edition for him. He also spent a small fortune on books and manuscripts, and paid a special secretary for years to assist in the production of this edition.
 
Sadly, nothing came of the whole plan: lobbying by competitors from Paris and the ambivalent attitude of the Vatican killed off Balthasar’s prestige project.
 
16.09.14 - 14.12.14

Museum Plantin-Moretus
Unesco werelderfgoed