Top of page

Book/Printed Material Paupers' Bible. Biblia pauperum

About this Item


  • Paupers' Bible.

Other Title

  • Biblia pauperum


  • Having already developed a considerable manuscript tradition from the 13th century, the so-called Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible) attained its most prolific level of distribution in the second half of the 15th century through block book and incunable editions. Particularly widespread was the 40-leaf Latin version of the Biblia pauperum, which was published in no fewer than 11 block book editions. The arrangement of the text and the sequence of illustrations in the Latin version were adopted by both of the German-language block book editions, which, however, used somewhat simpler woodcuts. The first block book edition in German was co-produced in 1470 in the city of Nördlingen by the painter Friedrich Walther and the carpenter Hans Hurning, as is indicated by a note at the end of the book accompanied by two coats of arms and the date. As early as a year later, the German version was copied by Hans Sporer, a calligrapher and block cutter of Nuremberg, who simplified the illustrations by omitting the hatching and replacing the background landscapes with plain horizontal lines. Imitating the earlier version, Sporer included two coats of arms and the date 1471 in the last plate. The German Biblia pauperum block book presented here certainly does not belong to the first issue produced by Sporer, as this was printed from wooden blocks on which two plates were placed side by side (1--40, 2--39, and so forth). Since the leaves could only be printed on one side, they had to be folded in the middle and arranged in a manner to ensure that the illustrations in the first half of the book were on the left side (verso), while those in the second half were on the right side (recto). At a later stage, Sporer seems to have split the blocks in the middle and begun producing prints with a simple printing press, which allowed printing on both the recto and verso of a leaf, as is the case in the copy shown. Besides the Biblia pauperum, Sporer produced three other block book titles in Nuremberg up to 1474, before he moved to Bamberg and began printing using movable types in 1487.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1472.


  • -  Germany--Bavaria--Nuremberg
  • -  1472
  • -  Bible
  • -  Illuminations
  • -  Incunabula
  • -  Miniatures (Illuminations)


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "BSB shelfmark: Xylogr. 25|This description of the work was written by Heike Riedel-Bierschwale of the Eichstätt University Library."--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: 40 pages ; 20.09 x 28.08 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: Bavarian State Library.
  • -  Content in Middle High German (ca. 1050-1500).
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021667073

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. For information on contacting WDL partner organizations, see this archived list of partners

The Library asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here.

Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For additional information and contact information for many of the partner organizations, see this archived capture of the World Digital Library site from 2021.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Paupers' Bible. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1472] Pdf.

APA citation style:

(1472) Paupers' Bible. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Paupers' Bible. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1472] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.