This past Saturday, at the Forsyth, Georgia District Campgrounds F.C.F., Okefenokee Chapter President, Jim Warfel was presented with the 1733 New Testament that we made for him.
The photo below includes Rod Bailey “Gunsight” (left) who is the new Okefenokee F.C.F. Chapter President, and Jim Warfel “Keystone” (right), who served as their President for the past 19 years holding is New Testament.
F.C.F = Frontier Christian Fellowship
If you would like to see how Jim Warfel’s New Testament was made, click the following link:
Listen to this “5 Minutes in Church History” about David Brainerd’s Hebrew Dictionary at the link below:
We have done a little research and found out that this dictionary was originally bound like any other book at that time, but then recovered with this otter skin sometime later. The otter skin was already being used, but repurposed as the book cover that we see today. We are trying to get some close up photos of how this otter skin is attached. We assume that it was attach similarly to the photo below. This photo is an example of pretty standard overlapping binding techniques used during this period.
The transcript of this broadcast is below, but I find that it is much better to listen, than to read.
“I think on a previous episode I might have confessed to you that historians are strange people, and they like to visit strange places. And I think I mentioned to you that I like to visit cemeteries. Well in addition to cemeteries, historians also like to visit libraries. I know, sounds really exciting doesn’t it? But, this library and this find is exciting.
This is the library at Princeton University, and there at Princeton University among the many interesting books is one book in particular that I’d like to talk to you about. Well, for you to get a sense of it, it’s about 4″x 6″x 4,” so about 4 inches wide, about 6 inches in length, and about 4 inches thick. But what’s fascinating about this book is the binding. It is actually bound in otter skin. That’s right, otter skin. And not only is it bound in otter skin, but it’s painted with blue and red stripes; and its painted in a style that’s the characteristic painting of the eastern woodland Indians. So we have an otter-skin bound, painted, Hebrew dictionary.
It is a dictionary of Hebrew and also of Aramaic. It was first published in Bazel in 1654, and somehow it made it’s way into the hands of David Brainerd. When David Brainerd died it passed on to Jonathan Edwards. So it was actually in possession of Jonathan Edwards. And of course at the end of his life, Jonathan Edwards was at Princeton and somehow that Hebrew dictionary made its way through the Edwards family, and some Edwards family member gave it to Princeton University.
This is fascinating to me for a lot of reasons. First, it’s the binding and the painted stripes on it—it looks really cool. If you ever get a chance I hope you get to see it. But also, this is a Hebrew dictionary, so this is for all you Hebrew teachers out there that your labors are not in vain. This belonged to David Brainerd. David Brainerd was a missionary to the Indians in the 1700′s. He started first in New York and he was a missionary there. Then he went down to New Jersey and into Pennsylvania and was a missionary to the Delaware’s. He even went deep into the woods of central Pennsylvania and was a missionary to the Susquehannahs.
Brainerd started off his life as a farmer. When he was 18 years old he inherited a farm, and he farmed it for about 3 years. And then when he was 21 he had a conversion, and at his conversion he says that he was given a “hearty desire to exult God and seek first His Kingdom.” Well, about two months after his conversion he went to Yale. And as he entered Yale this was at the time of the Great Awakening, so this is right around 1740, 1741-42. And in 1742, Brainerd was certainly part of the revival fervor. And he was concerned for the state of the soul of some of his professors. In fact at one point, David Brainerd, a student at Yale said of one of his professors, this professor has “No more grace than a chair.” Well, for that David Brainerd found himself expelled from Yale University, and that’s when he began his work among the Native Americans in 1743.
By 1746, after just a few short years of missionary work, Brainerd was so ill that he simply could not continue. We know now that he had Tuberculosis. In fact he had it back from his first year at Yale. So he made his way North, ended up at Northampton in Massachusetts and was in the home of Jonathan Edwards. And while he was there, Jonathan Edwards took his diary and expanded upon it and wrote a biography, “The Life of David Brainerd.” And it was there in Edwards’ home, in 1747 that at the age of 29, David Brainerd died.
His epitaph, which most likely was written by Edwards, simply records, “A faithful and laborious missionary to the Stockbridge, Delaware, and Susquehannah Indians.” And not only was he a faithful missionary, he was also a faithful student. And so he had in his possession his Hebrew dictionary with its otter skin binding, and it’s blue and red painted stripes.”
This rare advertisement of the Robert Aitken Bible appeared in the FREEMAN’S JOURNAL OR NORTH AMERICAN INTELLIGENCER PUBLISHED IN PHILADELPHIA BY FRANCIS BAILEY, February 5, 1783.
The transcription is below:
“Robert Aitken, printer, bookseller, bookbinder, and stationer, at Pope’s Head, in Market Street, near the Coffee House, has just finished, and has now ready for sale, a new and very correct edition of The Holy Bible; With which booksellers, store keepers and others in town and country, may be supplied by wholesale and retail on the most reasonable terms the times will admit. The serious Christian will be pleased to find, that the scarcity of Bibles, of which he has so long had reason to complain, is now removed; and the Patriot will rejoice at the advance in the arts, which as at length produced The first Edition of the Holy Scriptures, in the English Language, ever printed in America;each of these will allow the merit due to so capital an undertaking; and the trader will find his interest in affording his patronage and encouragement to this work, as several circumstances, particularly the largeness of the type, and the remarkable good quality of the paper, render this edition superior to any of the same size imported from Europe. N.B. The Bibles will be sold either bound or in sheets, and a suitable discount allowed to those who purchase large quantities.”
This is the first page of the Apocrypha from our replica of the original 1715 Old Testament. The one on the left is the original scan and the one on the right is after we cleaned that page up. David Moody scanned this entire Apocrypha for us.
Was the Apocrypha in the original King James Bible? If so, why is it not in there now?
Answer: The answer is that the Apocrypha was in the original 1611 King James Bible. (For a really detailed answer go to pages 222-228 of Alister McGrath’s book, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture.) The question of whether the Apocrypha should remain in the Bible continued for centuries, but while the debate did involve theology, the issue was ultimately decided on the basis of the cost of publication. The Apocrypha remained in most published King James Bibles until 1826 when the various missionary societies removed it for financial reasons. The first English-language Bible printed in North America in 1782, Robert Aitken’s “Bible of the Revolution”, did not contain the Apocrypha. Yet, it wasn’t until 1826 that the Apocrypha disappeared from most newly published King James Bibles. Today, it is almost impossible to get a major biblical publisher to allow the Apocrypha to be printed within a Bible, even when printing a reproduction of a Bible that originally contained the Apocrypha within.
“Turn is a spy thriller set during the American Revolutionary War. Based on remarkable new research featured in the book “Washington’s Spies,” by Alexander Rose, it tells the untold story of America’s first spies. “Turn” follows Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a farmer living behind enemy lines in British-occupied Long Island, who bands together with a group of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring, an unlikely team of secret agents who would help turn the tide of the war in favor of the Rebels. Their daring efforts also revolutionized the art of espionage, giving birth to modern tradecraft as we know it today, along with all of the moral complexity that entails.”