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A: Augsburg-Innenstadt, Augsburg, Bayern, Germany

Melchior Mattsperger Compiles the First Hieroglyphic Bible for Children

1684 to 1692

Melchior Mattsperger compiled Die Geistliche Herzens-Einbildungen in zweihundert und fünffzig biblischen Figur-Sprüchen vorgestellet. This work, first published in 2 volumes in Augsburg, Germany in 1684 and 1692, was the first hieroglyphic bible, combining brief complete biblical passages and a combination of text and images to represent words or parts of words, in rebus form. 

The first English language edition of this work, A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible, was printed in London in 1783. The first American edition followed in 1788. Introducing children to brief biblical passages with an intriguing combination of text and image, numerous editions with a variety of biblical selections and illustrations were issued through the first half of the nineteenth century.

A digital facsimile of the 1688 German edition is available from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at this link.

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