Reverend Waller sharing our Children’s Hieroglyphick Bible at Colonial Williamsburg
These photos were taken on the Duke of Gloucester Street today during the 2013 Veterans Day Celebrations.
Reverend Waller is sharing his Hieroglyphic Bible, that we made for him, with a young boy.
“Children’s Bibles in the eighteenth century often employed the use of images to represent words and ideas to make memorization of and engagement with the Bible more appealing to children. “
“A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible, or, Select passages in the Old and New Testaments, represented with emblematical figures, for the amusement of youth : designed chiefly to familiarize tender age, in a pleasing and diverting manner, with early ideas of the Holy Scriptures : to which are subjoined, a short account of the lives of the Evangelists, and other pieces, illustrated with cuts.”
In 18th century Protestant Great Britain and her colonies, an individual’s ability to read the Bible was considered a necessity for spiritual growth. Yet, children who were not yet able to read and comprehend the Bible needed a simplified version which would lead them to Christian faith. A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible offered children a fun way to learn Bible stories while also learning how to read. (At that time, the word “curious” meant carefully made, not strange or odd!) Each page offers a Bible verse set out with certain key words replaced with images. Some of the hieroglyphs are hard to decipher so thankfully each Scripture verse is printed on the bottom of each page.
I spent a couple of hours unbinding this original 18th century children’s book called the Hieroglyphik Bible.
A hieroglyphic Bible replaces some of the words of the text with pictures in an attempt to tell a story in a direct, simple, and interesting way. Such Bibles were very popular in the 18th century and were an easy means of teaching the scripture to the young and were used as a pleasing method of teaching Bible lessons to children, and also an easy way of leading them on into reading.
The images in this book are woodcuts and not copperplate engravings as was common in the 18th century. The Bible was originally printed as a duodecimo and our replica is about this same size, 3 5/8” X 6”. After Hodgston’s death, the Bodleian library of Oxford University confirms that the rights to the Hieroglyphick Bible were purchased by Robert Bassam for the substantial sum of £144. Sadly, the woodcuts were destroyed in a fire on October 31, 1803.
For several years, we have been actively engaged in preaching the Gospel and Christian evangelism on the streets of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Dressed in 18th Century re-enactor ministry costuming and armed with period correct literature, we have endeavored to preach from the Bible and speak with people about the important role that religion plays in the lives of 18th century families and America’s road to religious freedom.
As witnessed by the overwhelming success of the current History Channel mini-series,
“The Bible”, people are hungry for an understanding of religion and why people believe what they believe and its’ relevancy in their daily lives.
Like the film, our ministry also uses the historical narrative to deliver the stories of the Old & New Testaments and is what our guests respond to and are receptive to. They listen…..they interact, converse and ask questions and then they leave, but, not empty handed. They depart with a little better understanding of something that has the power to monumentally change their lives, forever. It’s their choice, if they accept it and embrace it.
Each year, it is estimated, that approximately 700,000 to a million tourists visit the restored colonial capital in Virginia. Those numbers represent a tremendous opportunity for sharing the Gospel of Jesus with people from all around the world.
Our ministry is always looking for more effective ways to reach additional people. In an attempt to interest more children in the stories of the Bible, we have implemented a Bible Reading Program using one of 18th Century Bibles.com Hieroglyphick Bibles.
This new endeavor will be focused on families traveling with children, organized school groups and home schoolers visiting Colonial Williamsburg. We will read from the Hierglyphick Bible, out loud, to attract a small gathering of children. Then, we will pass around the Bible to the children and ask them to comment on the pictures or to read the stories to the other children assembled. We think that this is going to be an ideal way to share the Gospel with children in a meaningful way.
If you have a desire to share the Gospel, enjoy fine books and are interested in 18th Century history, take a look at the quality workmanship that Mr. James Moore accomplishes. We use many of his period correct evangelical tools in our ministry.
Waller’s Meeting House