Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow University archivists find John Knox's Bible

Glasgow University's John Knox Bible Image copyright Glasgow University

Experts believe a unidentified bible held by Glasgow University may have belonged to John Knox - a founding father of the Protestant Reformation.

The large Old Testament, which is printed in Hebrew and Latin, was published in 1546 in Switzerland.

It was bequeathed to the university in 1864 by William Euing as part of his collection of about 3,000 Bibles.

Archivists now believe that a signature dated 1561, on the reverse of the title page, may have been penned by Knox.

Image copyright Glasgow University

The find was revealed in an article posted on the university's webpage by assistant librarian, Robert MacLean.

His article quotes leading Knox historian, Prof Jane Dawson, of Edinburgh University.

She states: "During his career and in common with most sixteenth-century figures, Knox used a variety of different signatures and writing styles.

"In such a Latin/Hebrew Old Testament he would have probably used the Latin abbreviation 'Jo.' of his Christian name, Joannes.

"The spelling of Knox with a second 'k' would also be unusual for him, though this was a variant used by his contemporaries."

Professor Dawson adds: "The signature in the Old Testament is in a formal style and has more in common with the signatures Knox employed in his earlier days acting as a notary.

"This makes it appear quite different from the flowing 'secretary' hand he commonly used when writing in English or Scots in the early 1560s.

"Although there is no match with Knox's known signatures, there is equally nothing to prevent this being Knox's book."

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