A copy of Jurij Dalmatin’s Bible handed over to the National and University Library for safekeeping at the initiative of Prime Minister Janez Janša
At the initiative of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Janša, a copy of the Bible with full title, Biblia, tu ie, vse Svetu pismu, Stariga inu Noviga testamenta, which has thus far been kept at the castle in Brdo pri Kranju was handed over to the National and University Library for safekeeping.
The Bible was translated and published in 1584 by Jurij Dalmatin. The handing over took place on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, and The Bible was accepted by Director Viljem Leban and Andreja Kozjek, the Head of the Conservation and Preservation Centre. The National and University Library placed The Bible among other works in the Protestant print collection that includes some of the greatest valuables of the library.
The National and University Library keeps a number of copies of Dalmatin’s Bible from 1584. Some of the prominent former owners and annotators include Jurij Rain from Strmol Castle, Doroteja Bohorič, Maksimilijan Leopold Rasp, Žiga Zois, Jernej Kopitar, Ivan Vrhovnik and Tomo Zupan. Rain’s copy also includes Dalmatin’s personal inscription. The copy from Brdo has been excellently preserved. It is bound in alum skin. On the front cover, it has a debossed portrait of Martin Luther and a portrait of the Lutheran reformer Philip Melanchthon on the back cover.
As evident from the existing sources, the copy of The Bible received by the National and University Library was once owned by Baron Adam Egkh of Brdo Castle near Kranj. In this castle, used today for protocol purposes, and which had many owners in the past, including Barons Zois, this copy of The Bible has presumably been kept since its publication in 1584. It was received as a gift for supporting Protestant provincial estates by Adam Egkh, the grandson of Baron Janez Jožef Egkh, a friend of the Slovenian Protestant reformer Primož Trubar and a member of the commission that reviewed Trubar’s works in order to determine whether they were compliant with the Augsburg Confession and suitably translated into Slovenian.
Slovenian literature experienced its first great revival in the 16th century. Over several decades, the language was developed and the foundations for Slovenian literature were established. The works of Protestants were published in quite large print runs of between 1,000 and 2,000 copies. The Bible solely translated by Jurij Dalmatin is one of the most important works of Slovenian Protestant literature and is a priceless artefact of the Slovenian language and culture. It includes a brief foreword in German and an exhaustive one in Slovenian, the entire Old and New Testaments and several registers, including a linguistic one. It was published only a few decades after Luther’s German translation. It took Dalmatin some ten years to translate, without using a grammar or dictionary. The Bible was printed in 1,500 copies in Wittenberg in Germany, and the printing process took some six months. It was used for 200 years and served as a foundation for all later translations of The Bible. The copy from Maksimilijan Leopold Rasp’s library has been available in digital form since 2010 in the Digital Library of Slovenia.