The Illuminated Matsby, Vol. 3

This piece was inspired by the hard work and ingenuity that went in to creating the first printed Bible and the events which followed when suddenly everyone could have access to the holy written word of God – not just the learned monks and clergymen, but all men could read it and know for themselves.

It was also inspired by the Police Academy movies and Cocoon.

The Steve Guttenberg Bible


The Illuminated Matsby, Vol. 3


  1. Epic.

  2. Steve Evans says:

    Three Wise Men and a Baby?

  3. Keep ’em coming

  4. 4 – Yep, he would have been perfect as the Silver Surfer. Too bad he didn’t get the role.

  5. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

    He’s got armadillos in his trousers.

  6. That picture is criminal.

    (The linked one, not the posted one. The OP one is awesome.)

  7. It takes two thousand stripling warriors?

  8. Makes me nostalgic. The first Bible I read had a Gothic typeface. It was a doozy to figure out, but hey, I had nothing but time! (AKA: in my fifth year, I was too foolish to pick another Bible if I wanted to read one.) Gladly I was already wise to some texts that were available as both the old-fashioned Gothic and the newfangled Roman.

    And I think MAD went downhill a long way after Bill Gaines died. They have picked up some, though. Namely, ads.

  9. Oh, and I forgot to ask: Why a Latin Bible to represent Gutenberg. You do know, that the Gutenberg Bible is in German, right?

  10. Because it was a better picture to work with.

  11. And yes, I am aware of the Gutenberg Bible being in German.

  12. Jonathan Green says:

    I weep.

    No, Gutenberg’s edition is Latin. No, it wasn’t affordable. It was a luxury edition that would have been accessible to the wealthy and ecclesiastic leadership. Who could read Latin.

    Do not anger me further, or I shall unleash links to document the above assertions, like unto a thundercloud of unstoppable footnotes.

  13. Whoa.

  14. You’re right. The Gutenberg bible was not widely distributed and available.

    But as stated, its printing was the beginning – it opened the door. And what followed was the Bible eventually getting into more and more people’s hands.

  15. #6–Kathryn, it may interest you to know this piece of trivia:

    The only animal other than humans that is known to contract leprosy is the nine-banded armadillo.

    You’re welcome.

  16. Jonathan Green,
    You’re right–it was in Latin, but we knew that, of course. This was actually a test. For you, mostly, but also for others. You passed (barely). Everyone else failed.

  17. I have to admit it’s been a few years since my last art history class and when doing research for this post I spent most of my time focusing on the works of Steve Guttenberg.

    And I dare anyone to challenge the accuracy of my claim that he was in fact in the movie Cocoon.

  18. Or am I thinking of Jeff Goldblum?

    Oh crap! I am not sure of anything anymore.

  19. My recollection of a book I read on the history of Bible publication is that, while the Gutenberg edition was significantly cheaper than a manuscript Bible, it was still expensive enough that only one copy is known to have originally belonged to a private, non-institutional owner.

  20. It’s true, JNS. This was long before the days of Dover for mathematicians and Penguin for the masses.

  21. Jonathan Green says:

    Yes, JNS, that’s my understanding as well. Institutional ownership was often the typical case for books. (On the other hand, trying to find the original owner of any 15th-century book is hard, and it’s difficult to know whether an institutional owner is the original purchaser or the beneficiary of a later donation.)

  22. I’m just wondering why you chose the book of Judith.

  23. Pure genius.

  24. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was . . . PROCTOR!!!!

  25. Jonathan Green,

    I’m confused. Why would they go to all that trouble to translate it from the King’s English into Latin?

  26. Yeah, the Gutenberg Bible is often thought to be German, because it’s connected with.

    What the printing press did do is facilitate the religious reformation’s spread considerably. It was still quite complicated to print a bound book (the layout problems alone were not simple), let alone using more than one color. It did make it very efficient to produce different kinds of fliers, that were distributed among the populace. The price was still a factor, since paper was not a commodity that you bought for a few bucks a ream.

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