Noting When Mr Gutenberg’s Wonderful Printing Press Gets Rolling

Noting When Mr Gutenberg’s Wonderful Printing Press Gets Rolling February 23, 2022




It was on this day, the 23rd of February, in 1455 Johannes Gutenberg published his wonderful Bible. Or, at least its the best date we’ve come up with to mark the occasion…

Of course pretty much everyone knows that it wasn’t the first time a book was printed, or printed with movable type. Personally, I’m pleased as punch that the oldest extant printed book with a certain date is in fact an edition of the Diamond Sutra. And, the oldest surviving book with moveable type is another Buddhist volume, is is the Jikji, printed in Korea, a collection of the teachings of Seon (Zen) master Baegun, which was printed in movable type by his students Seok-chan and Daijam in 1377. It is believed there were moveable type books in China and Korea up to two centuries earlier. But these are surviving physical books.

Those important facts noted, really, this cannot in any way take away the momentous occasion that the Gutenberg Bible announced. The cultural mess in Europe that was happening at this moment would spark an explosion that would unite the world. For good and for ill. Gutenberg’s printing press is a central part of that mess and its cultural explosion. And his Bible was the beginning of it all.

The course leading toward to where we are, and where I hope we might yet go, has a certain origin here, at this moment, on this day, Mainz, in Germany, in 1455.

So, today, incense, candles and bows. And, well, maybe a throw of salt over one shoulder. How this is going to play out as yet been determined…

Whatever. It has started.

And may we continue to find the wisdom hidden in each others hearts…


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