Johann Gutenberg's magnificent 42-line Bible (B42) is the first surviving book printed with movable type. It was completed in Mainz, Germany, around 1455 and for centuries has held special significance for all bibliophiles and historians of the book. Each of the forty-eight surviving exemplars is unique, and the one belonging to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin (acquired in 1978 and formerly the Pforzheimer Library copy) is one of the most fascinating and deserving of further study. Notable features of the two-volume Texas copy on paper are the copious indications of actual use dating from the 15th through the 17th centuries. These are found on over a third of its pages and include instructions on how and when passages were to be used in monastic services, marginal divisions of the text for reading aloud, lectionary marks, and textual corrections or insertions. In addition, the first volume of the Texas copy of the Gutenberg Bible contains over forty beautifully illuminated large initial letters added by artists around the time it was printed.
It is now possible for those interested in the Bible, art history, and the history of the book to study all 1,282 individual pages of the Center's copy. This CD-ROM edition of the Ransom Center's Gutenberg Bible incorporates high-resolution and enlargeable "flattened" images of each page. The resolution permits easy viewing of such small details as the papermaker's hair embedded in the fibers of a page. This two-disk set may be used on both Windows and Macintosh computers with CD-ROM drives.