The Bible of the Poors (Triptychs with scenes of the life and passion of Jesus Christ, prefigured in different histories of the Old Testament)

The Bible of the Poors, is a 15th-century woodcut book that shows how the process of evangelization was aware of new writing technologies. Handwritten religious books with miniatures did not offer the diffusion required by the clergy. Thus, this Bible was advanced at least a decade to the Gutenberg Bible.

Its name is due to its didactic will, because it pretends to tell in a graphic form of Jesus Christ and to integrate at the same time the message of the Old and the New Testament. WL Schreiber (1902) arrived to identify ten different editions of this Bible, which demonstrates its great popularity, and H. Th. Musper (1961) advances the date of the prototype to 1440, while the other editions or copies would not be later to 145.

The National Library of Spain (BNE) holds a copy that is accessed from the portal of the Hispanic Digital Library (BDH). This volume is formed by the addition of two different editions that were bound together at the beginning of the 20th century. Here we share the formal description that the BDH makes of this volume intended for illiterate people:

The cycle consists of forty pages that have the same structure: under a triple arcade three scenes are reproduced, the one in the center narrates some passage of the life of Christ and is flanked by two others related to the Old Testament. The titles are included in the foot and in the upper angles there are readings that are summaries of the biblical text related to the included scenes. The composition has in the upper and lower parts, two pairs of figures of prophets covered under a double arch.


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