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article image340-year-old Bible found in a Wisconsin Lutheran church

By Kim I. Hartman     Jan 17, 2011 in World
Bonduel - A 340-year-old Bible has been discovered tucked away in a pantry-sized room filled with old books, historical records and pamphlets at a 148-year-old Lutheran church and school located in Wisconsin.
Middle school teacher Debra Court first found the Bible two years ago, while searching for baptism records for a class. When she saw it she thought it was just an old book and didn’t think much about it, according to FOX news. "I was looking for the old baptism records to show my students and then up here in the corner was where the Bible was tucked," said Court.
The 17th century Bible was found at St. Paul Lutheran School by Court who showed the Bible to Church Pastor Timothy Shoup. "When I did open it up and look at the title page I saw the roman numerals at the bottom I kept coming up with 1670 and I concluded whatever that is I've got it added up wrong." So Shoup contacted Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis, according to Channel 5 News WFRV.
A cataloger at Concordia was able to authenticate the 340-year-old book. The German Bible was printed in Nuremberg in 1670, hand-pressed, rare and at a weight of twenty pounds. It's made of pigskin over boards with brass corners and clasps, reports WFRV.
Lyle Buettner, who works in Special Collections at Concordia Seminary Library, said he believes the Bible is one of about 40 remaining copies known to exist in the world. Buettner said the illustrations were also impressive. He told news reporters "Each time I see an illustration like this, I just think of how beautiful it looks and how much of a labor of love it must have been for the person who actually drew it."
Reports said that church officials don’t know how they got the book and no one seems to remember how it got into the safe. Many of the church elders have been asked but nobody seems to recall ever hearing of the existence of the this piece of church history.
The church is considering donating the centuries old Bible to a library in St. Louis in the future. But for now church leaders are looking to have a climate-controlled display box made and will keep it until their 150th anniversary in 2013, according to the news reports.
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