The bible will be kept in the collection of The Cotton Library in Lismore church, a library containing more than 2,000 books and old manuscripts in twelve languages.
The IS The first Irish Bible, the Bedell Bible, was purchased by a library curator in Waterford and the fundraising campaign run online over the past few weeks was “very successful”.
The curator of The Cotton Library, the diocesan library of Lismore, required € 5,000 to purchase and maintain the Irish language bible published in 1685 as part of its book and manuscript collection.
Speaking to Tuairisc.ie, the Library’s Curator, Daniel Fleming, said that he was “very grateful” for all the support shown for the campaign to buy the old Irish bible after Tuairisc.ie published a story. about.
“People were all very generous and kind. Although we only asked for the price of a cup of coffee from people they gave us many large donations and all of them ensured that this historic bible by William Bedell will be available to the people of the country, ”he said.
€ 3,750 was paid for the Bedell Bible, which was sold by De Búrca Rare Books in Dublin.
€ 1,300 was raised through the Gofundme campaign and twice as much came from individuals, organizations and institutions with an interest in Lismore cathedral, the Irish language and books.
The curator of The Cotton Library said the “next step” was to move the bible from Dublin and present it to the people of Waterford.
“Covid-19 is blocking things at the moment and people are not allowed to come together, so I’m going to think about how I can best present the bible to the people.
“It’s a cause for celebration for the people of Waterford to have this bible in the county, so it’s worth telling a big story about it,” said Daniel Fleming.
The Bible was translated into Irish by Irish speaker William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh, with the help of two native speakers who proofread the work.
Bedell was an Englishman and Hebrew scholar who came to Ireland as provost of Trinity College in 1637, a few years before he was consecrated a bishop of the Church of Ireland.
According to Daniel Fleming, the publication of Bedell’s Old Testament was “a turning point in the history of the country and the Irish language”.
“This manuscript survived through fires, wars and other adventures before being discovered by the well-known scientist, philosopher and theologian Robert Boyle in 1681. The first Irish version of the Old Testament was published in 1685 with Boyle’s money.
“500 copies of Bedell’s Old Testament were published, 420 of which came to Ireland, although most of the bibles were destroyed in later years,” said the curator of The Cotton Library.
Although known as the Bedell Bible, it contains translations of the New Testament by the Archbishop of Tuam, William Daniel, thirty years earlier. It was the only Irish translation of the Bible for another 300 years.
The publication of the Old Testament in Irish was controversial in the mid-17th century, when the Catholic church did not allow Latin translations of the Bible and the Church of Ireland thought that the prayers of the Protestant Church should be in English rather than in Irish. being read by the people of Ireland.
Fleming described William Bedell as a “true humanist” who earned the respect of the Protestant and Catholic communities. When he died in 1642, the Irish rebels bestowed on William Bedell “all the honors they could bestow.”
The bible will be kept in The Cotton Library collection in Lismore church, a library containing more than 2,000 books and old manuscripts in twelve languages.