450 ANNIVERSARY 1569 - 2019

 © Carlos Padilla, February 2019

The Bible of the Bear celebrates its 450 Anniversary since that 28th of September 1569 when it was printed for the first time in Basel (Switzerland). The first complete Bible translated to Spanish directly from the original, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Texts by Casiodoro de Reina, who had to emigrate from the Monastery of Saint Isidoro del Campo, Santiponce (Seville), next to Italica, persecuted by the Inquisition for wanting to provide the world with the Bible in Spanish because it is the Word of God that shall stand forever, as we can read in its interior, based on Isaiah 40:8. Although he was persecuted, he could conclude his great work that today reaches more than 500 million of Spanish speaking readers in its version revised by his disciple and colleague from the Monastery, Cipriano de Valera, known as The Bible, Reina-Valera 1960 Version; the most appreciated and read in history by Spanish speaking believers.

In times of humanism and of El Quijote of Cervantes, this Bible of the Bear was so prodigiously translated that its Text has been qualified as the most inspired by the erudite and the one with the greater literature by the linguists. Its quality is such that no matter how many versions or translations see the light, including the later Catholic versions, nor other protestant, reaches so much acceptance in Spanish speaking Christianity. Menéndez Pelayo qualifies it of a great gift to Spanish language.

Casiodoro de Reina and Cipriano de Valera were monks of the order of the Hieronymite Order who began to read the New Testament of Juan Pérez de Pineda, which they received thanks to the undercover work of Julianillo Hermández, who would bring the books in wine barrels. Having had to fly to Geneva duo to the persecution of the Inquisition, there he met Pérez de Pineda, who had published that New Testament in Spanish based in the Text of Francisco de Encinas (Antwerp). Casiodoro couldn’t stay there either due to the persecution of the Calvinists. Once in London he could dedicate his life to the work of the translation of the entire Bible. From there he would also have to travel to different cities due to persecution ending in Frankfort, where he finished it in 1567. It was printed in Basel by Tomás Guarín. 2600 copies where made from which 32 originals seam to remain in the world. Facsimile commemorative editions are affordable and also a privilege. The cover has the bear eating from the honeycomb, which was the logo of another printer, Apiario, and the Text of Isaiah 40:8: “But the Word of God shall stand forever”.

The original Texts used by Casiodoro according to the original sources were: for the Hebrew the Text of the Hebrew Bible of a Spanish Jew converted to Christianity Jacob Ben Hayim ben Isaac ibn Adonijah, according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia is the most reliable Masoretic rabbinic Text. For the New Testament the Greek Textus Receptus available was the one of Erasmus. We must mention that the Polyglot Complutense Bible of Cardinal Cisneros was printed by then with Hebrew and Greek Texts, but with a Latin column, not Castilian or Spanish, so the work of Casiodoro was pioneer in the history of the vernacular languages of the Bible, in this case in Castilian. For comparison of the Old Testament he had access to the Bible of Ferrara, translated by Hebraists from the original Hebrew to Ladino. And for the New Testament he had by then the translation of Encinas.

Constantino Bada, Catholic priest and teacher of Sacred Scripture in the Seminary of Oviedo, has done a doctoral thesis about the Bible of the Bear and he defends it as the best translation, calling his author as “a man before his time”. Also the academic of Spanish Language Antonio Muñoz Molina said about it that it is “a forgotten jewel” of the Golden Century. You can read an interview to Bada in Protestante Digital (in Spanish). For more historical references you can read the works of Gordon Kinder, a specialist on the Spanish reformers. Not less relevant has been the proof that after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran, the authenticity and correlation of the translated Texts found there, which to our Christian eyes is an evidence of the hand of God and of the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit.

To close, I would like to inform that in September of this year 2019, due to the 450th  Anniversary of the Bible of the Bear, we will celebrate an event and concert with readings of the original of the Bible of the Bear in the Monastery of Saint Isidoro del Campo, Santiponce (Seville), emblematic place from which all this journey of the first Castilian Bible started, the more emblematic and loved by Spanish speaking Christianity. At the same time we already have the commemorative stamp from the Spanish Post, and further readings of the Bible of the Bear will follow through the year. Read the Bible – Jesus Christ returns!



  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6.

  • I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6. Words of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.
  • You want to know God, but you know the way is not through organized religion, nor by sects, nor by society. The world has failed. ...I pray for them;  I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours... John 17:9. Prayer of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.

  • If you really seek God, begin today the new life though the true hand of God. The Gospel is the message for all nations, no matter their race, their origins or culture. God is the saviour of those from humanity who open their hearts to Him.

  • ...Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  1Corinthians 15:58.

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