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Revolutions in Print

Revolutions in Print

The advent of the Gutenberg hand-press in the mid-fifteenth century revolutionized the spread of information and biblical production in particular—the Gutenberg Bible was the first text to be printed on the Gutenberg-style press. Before hand-press print, biblical texts were produced by hand in monastic scriptoria. With the introduction of the hand-press in Mainz, Germany, European centers of textual production shifted to Germany. Augustinian friar and religion reformer Martin Luther revolutionized bible production and reception when he translated the Latin bible into German by publishing the first vernacular language bible containing both the Old and New Testaments in 1534. Luther’s bible led to the standardization of the German language and the art of translation. While the printing press made knowledge accessible for a much broader audience, it also drastically impacted textual practices of communication and required a vastly different set of professional skills.