Lot 59
  • 59

Bulkeley, Peter

30,000 - 40,000 USD
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  • [Bible]. The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, Translated out of Greek... London: Christopher Barker, 1593 [1584]
  • paper, ink, leather
2 volumes, 8vo (8 x 6 in.; 204 x 152 mm), incomplete. BINDING: Contemporary brown calf. PROVENANCE: Peter Bulkeley (annotations), by descent through the Bulkeley family (bookplate of Eliphalet Bulkeley to front pastedown) 

Incomplete edition with scattered staining, some tears with loss to text. Covers disbound and inelegantly reattached with brown tape, spines lacking, corners bumped with loss to calf and boards.


DNB; Darlow and Moule, Historical Catalogue of...Holy Scripture I, p. 108, 167

Catalogue Note

BULKELEY BIBLE, RICHLY ANNOTATED IN HIS HAND. Peter Bulkeley (1583–1659) was an early and important Puritan minister. As a Puritan, Bulkeley opposed the religious policies of William Laud, and in 1634 left England, seeking greater religious freedom. In order to deceive the government spies, he had sent on his wife and the rest of his children some weeks before. Once he arrived, he was ordained at Cambridge, in the American colony of Massachusetts. The family settled in the Boston area. After a brief stay, Bulkley, taking with him some trusted planters, moved up further into the woods, eventually purchasing land at Musketaquid, later named Concord. It was in Concord that he formed the twelfth church to be established in the colony, and in April 1637 was appointed one of the moderators of the synod, the other being Thomas Hooker. Bulkeley's legacy ran long in Concord, and the minister was the subject of Emerson's "Hamatreya".  Bulkeley, who wrote the Gospel Covenant, died in Concord on 9 March 1659.

The volumes present here are interleaved, with the annotations primarily on the blank leaves. The annotations are in two hands, the smaller, finer of which, is the Reverend Bulkeley's. In his annotations, the Reverend frequently makes references to other scriptural passages or related texts. The other hand is perhaps that of Eliphalet Bulkeley, who was Peter's son, and whose bookplate is present in this volume. Many of the notes within the volume are in Latin, further corroborating Peter Bulkeley's ownership, as he was known to be a fine Latinist. 

The Reverend Peter Bulkeley is best remembered today as one of the “chief divines” of Massachusetts Bay who determined to produce a new metrical translation of the Psalms. This paraphrase, based on contemporary English translations, with close attention given to the original Hebrew, was published in Cambridge in 1640 as The Whole Booke of Psalmes, but it is popularly known as the Bay Psalm Book—the first book printed in British America and the first book printed in English in the New World. In addition to Bulkeley, the other scholarly leaders of colonial New England who contributed to the translation were John Cotton, Richard Mather, Thomas Welde, John Eliot, and John Wilson.

Zoltán Haraszti’s The Enigma of the Bay Psalm Book, which accompanied a facsimile of the work, remarks on Bulkeley’s preference to the Geneva Bible over the King James Version and finds his pen at work in the verses of Psalms 29 and 90, in particular. The present carefully studied and annotated Bible may well have been one of Bulkeley’s principal reference works in working on the Bay Psalm Book.

These volumes are accompanied by a letter from John Alden, dated 31 March 1964, referencing the edition described in Darlow and Moule's Historical Catalogue of...Holy Scripture, and the family record of this Bible.