2017 was the 300th anniversary of the printing of the Vinegar Bible in Oxford England by John Baskett. At Christ Church we decided to celebrate this event in a number of ways. Here is a record of those activities.
Vinegar Bible Liberation
Christ Church’s copy of the Vinegar Bible has been in a display case for many decades. We decided to remove it from this enclosure in order for parishioners and non-parishioners alike to get a closer look at it. We were not sure what condition we would find the book in so we were somewhat apprehensive and prepared to abandon this removal if it turned out to be too fragile. Kim Avagliano, a Monmouth County Library research librarian was present to advise us of any procedures we should follow. Gladly, the Bible while showing the wear of over 150 years of page turning and reading by many individuals, was quite sturdy.
The Vinegar Bible’s Home for Many Years
Renewed Use of the Vinegar Bible
The Vinegar Bible was explicitly intended to be read in churches. It then seemed appropriate to use it. So for every Sunday for the second half of 2017 Mother Lisa read the Gospel from the Bible situated on a table in front of the first pew. This was a bit of a challenge due to the language of the King James Version and the old font type that required recognition of strange formulations of certain alphabetic characters.
High Definition Photography
We arranged with a professional photographer to take high quality photographs of all the key pages in the Bible. These included all the illustrations and special pages like the Kalendar and the KJV Translatour’s Notes at the beginning. This would allow both a capture of the condition of the Bible in 2017 as well as an electronic record to allow further research without having to remove the Bible from its case in the future. There was a unique photographic setup to allow for excellent photographs while keeping the Bible in the Church. Maybe not ideal but cost effective.
Photography Setup in the Sanctuary
You can view these images at
We created our first Historical Vignette and appropriately focusing on the Vinegar Bible. Historical Vignette is a term we use to refer to a multimedia story that describes one of our historic objects. This one can be found at
An event called 1717 was held on September 30th in the Church, featuring presentations about the Bible’s history and condition and a performance of music composed at the time of the Bible’s printing by Madregalia, the performance artists in residence at the Church. The music centered on the Chandos anthems composed by G F Handel when he was artist in residence (171-1718) at the Earl of Chandos estate called Cannons north of London. This musical focus was due to the fact that the Earl of Chandos also had a Vinegar Bible, now at the Morgan Library in New York.
The program for 1717 can be found here
The history, condition, Vinegar Bible Sites, and musical introduction presentations can be found here
The first musical selection can be found here:
Reverend Lisa Mitchell, Bishop William Stokes, and Robert Kelly Discuss the Guest of Honor
The Art of the Vinegar Bible
On December 13th there was a presentation entitled “The Art of the Vinegar Bible”. This talk addressed the remarkable illustrations in the Bible and was given by our Monmouth University student intern, Campbell Adair Lee. Ms. Lee was guided by Art Professor Dr. Corey Dzenko.
Ms Lee’s charts can be found here ART OF THE VINEGAR BIBLE CHARTS
Campbell Adair Lee
Campbell Adair Lee and Professor Dzenko
- Publication of the lead article in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of the Historiographer, the publication of the National Episcopal Historians and Archivists, about our Vinegar Bible.
- In partnership with St John’s Anglican Church in Nova Scotia we formed the Vinegar Bible Interest Group. This group, composed of all holders of the Vinegar Bibles worldwide, is focused on developing and sharing information about Vinegar Bibles from their creation in 1717.