November 5 in Slovenian History: Dalmatin's Bible Translation Published in Wittenberg

By , 05 Nov 2019, 21:04 PM Lifestyle

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On today's date in 1583 Dalmatin's Bible was published in Germany, the first full translation of the Holy Book's Old and New Testaments into the Slovenian language.

The translation was based on the earlier translation of the New Testament by Primož Trubar, and took Jurij Dalmatin, a Slovenian protestant author from Krško, ten years to complete. A long time, but Dalmatin had no aid from dictionaries or other books that could help him with the translation.

At first the book was supposed to be printed in Mandelc Printing house in Ljubljana, but following a ban on printing this was moved to Wittenberg in Germany. It was published on November 5, 1583, although the year 1584 is printed in the book. Its full title was Bible, this is all the Holy Book of the Old and New Testament interpreted into Slovenian through Jurij Dalmatin (Biblija, tu je vse svetu pismu stariga inu noviga testamenta, slovenski tolmačena skuzi Jurija Dalmatina).

The book was printed in 1,500 copies, 50 of those were printed on better paper with red, white and black leather covers and gilding, coloured pictures and initials. This is the only Protestant book that was spared by Counter-Reformation. Moreover, after the fall of the Slovene Protestant Church, Dalmatin's Bible was used by Slovenian Catholic priests for the next two centuries.

Just 78 original copies have been preserved, 36 at home and 42 abroad. One of these is kept by Posavski muzej Brežice and its fascimile can be seen in their regular exhibition about local Protestants and their cultural contributions.

Dalmatin’s translation of the entire Bible, was one of the cornerstones in the development of the Slovenian literary language, and the cultural identity of the Slovenes in general.

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