Normandy Vision UK Trust

Normandy Vision
UK Trust

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A Christian Mission working in Normandy, France

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A Summary of the History of the French Bible

This document is the subject of ongoing research and expansion. If you have any information that you think could help with that task, please send it to zzz.

The Bible of Charles V of France This translation, in manuscript form as it was produced before the age of printing, was made by Raoul de Presles in 1377, and dedicated to the French King, Charles V.

New Testament Printed at Lyon in 1476, this French New Testament was a translation from the Latin Vulgate.

Rely Bible This translation was made by Jean de Rely in 1487, and was called the "Great Bible". It was not a translation in the sense that we would understand it today, but was called a Bible History. It was adapted from the work of Guiard des Moulins towards the end of the thirteenth century.

Lefevre Bible The first version of the Bible in French from the time of the Reformation was translated by Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples (1455-1536), and published in Antwerp (Anvers). The New Testament was published first in 1523, and the complete French Bible in 1528. The Old Testament was a translation into French based upon the Latin Vulgate version, whereas the New Testament was based upon the best available Greek manuscripts. Lefevre was a professor at the University of Paris.

Olivetan Bible This was first published in 1535. The translator was Pierre Robert Olivetan (c1506-1538) who came from the town of Noyon in Picardy, and who probably was a cousin of John Calvin. It was based upon a revision of the Lefevre Bible, with reference to the best Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that were available at that time. It was first published at Neuchatel in Switzerland.

A revision was published by John Calvin in 1540 which was published in Geneva, and many subsequent revisions were made to it. The 1553 edition of the Bible, printed by Robert Etienne (1503-1559), was the first edition of the Bible to be published with the chapter and verse divisions with which we are still familiar with today.

The division of the Latin Vulgate into chapters has been credited to three people: Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury (died 1089); Stephen Langton, also Archbishop of Canterbury (died 1228), and Hugo de Sancto Caro during the 13th century.

It was revised and republished by Calvin's successor in Geneva, Theodore Beza, in 1588, and this became the basis of the Geneva Bible.

The Olivetan Bible was revised by David Martin, a native of the Languedoc region, between 1696 and 1707.

Photographs availablePhotographs are available to view of all the pages of a copy of the Olivetan Bible, 1535 edition

Leuven (Louvain) Bible The Olivetan translation formed the basis of the first Roman Catholic version of the French Bible. It was the work of Nicholas de Leuze and François de Larben, and was published in 1550.

Port-Royal Bible Port-Royal was a catholic educational establishment south-west of Paris. A version of the Bible was translated by Antoine and Louis Isaac Lemastre and published in 1695. They had worked on the translation from about 1672 through to 1693.

Ostervald Bible This was a revision of the Olivetan text by the Swiss pastor Jean Frederic Ostervald and published first in 1724. Subsequent revisions were made ny Ostervald up until 1744.

After his death various editions were released, including one released in 1996, the text of which can be read online.

The text of an 1877 edition of the Ostervald Bible is also available to be read online.

Frossard Edition In 1881 the Bible Society of France published the Frossard Edition of the Ostervald Bible. Pastor Charles Frossard had completed his revision of the Ostervald New Testament in 1869, and of the whole Bible in 1872.

Louis Segond Bible Louis Segond (1810-1885), Pastor in the Geneva National Church and then Professor of the Old Testament at Geneva, published an entirely new French version. The Old Testament was first published in 1874 and the New Testament in 1880.

Darby Version A version of the Bible in French by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) was published in about 1885. It is sometimes referred to as the Pau Bible, and it was an adaption of his English versions of the Bible made by French-speaking colleagues.

Revised Louis Segond The first major revision of the Louis Segond version was published in 1910. This 1910 version is freely and widely available on the internet. Subsequent revisions to the Louis Segond text have been made, notably between 1975 and 1978.

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