42-line Gutenberg Bible, printed on vellum, and its contemporary documentary background
Documentary heritage submitted by Germany and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2001.
The 42-line Gutenberg-Bible is the first book printed in Europe with movable types. From Mainz, the location of Gutenberg's printing office, the new technology spread all over Europe and the world. Of the originally 30 Bibles printed on vellum only four have survived in their complete form with all their 1282 pages. The Goettingen copy, being one of these four, stands out for its unique contemporary documentary context: The Goettingen Model Book is the contemporary source of the Bible’s illumination, the Notarial Instrument of Ulrich Helmasperger is the only surviving contemporary document that gives evidence of Gutenberg's invention. No other institution could claim to have three inter-connected outstanding documents which focus on the invention of printing in Germany. It is this connection which elevates the Goettingen vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible into a rank that could not be achieved by any of the other complete copies.