Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Basque New Testament on Sale

This note appeared at EITb:


Auction in London

Leizarraga’s New Testament has no owner


Shoteby’s put up Basque author Joannes Leizarraga’s New Testament (1571) for auction this morning. First price was 28,500 euros. Nobody offered higher price and the copy has not been sold.

Prestigious Shoteby’s Auction House of London put New Testament written by Basque Protestan priest Joannes Leizarraga for auction. The first price was 28,500 euros (20,000 pounds). However, nobody offered more and therefore the copy has no owner.

Caja Navarra bought for 33 million pesetas in 1995 one of the very few extant copies ordered by Navarre’s Queen Joana de Albret. The copy was bought in Christie’s House of London.

Joannes Leizarraga

Joannes Leizarraga (1505?-1601) was the first person to translate the New Testament into the Basque language. It is known that he died at 96, and that in 1559 he professed the Evangelical faith, embracing the Reformation. In 1563 he was in Laburdi, and was invited to Pau Reformed Synod and ordained as a minister there in 1567. Queen Juana de Albret called him to translate the New Testament, and some writings of John Calvin. He translated directly from the Greek New Testament, as well as using Erasmus' Latin translation.

Leizarraga’s work

The original Leizarraga Bible was published in 1571.The facsimile edition includes three pieces of research done on this important piece of Basque literature by lecturers at the Universities of Pau and the Basque Country, respectively.

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