1718 Dutch Bible Unveiled at Alberta College

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On October 31, The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta, celebrated the donation of a Dutch Bible published in 1718.

A 1718 Dutch Bible is displayed by the Bible’s donor, Gerry Segger (center); The King’s University College president Harry Fernhout (right); and Tim Janewski, director of library services.

The timely event took place on Reformation Day, a day to remember the “solas” of the Reformation (in this case, “sola scriptura”) but also a day to remember that the widespread publication and distribution of Bibles is one of the most enduring legacies of the Reformation.

The 1718 Bible, published in Amsterdam under the auspices of the Parliament of the Netherlands, was generously donated by long-time TKUC supporter Gerry Segger, a member of St. Albert (Alberta) Christian Reformed Church.

Segger discovered the Bible in the extensive library of his deceased brother, Albert, a former pastor in the Netherlands. The 1718 Bible includes the Old and New Testaments as well as the apocryphal books. Printed along with the biblical text is a background for each book, a concise chapter outline, footnotes, and scriptural references.

Although in fairly good condition for its age, it did need some repairs. Rob Mattingsley, who restored and appraised the Bible, spoke at the unveiling event about what he appreciated about the Bible, including the six fold-out maps representing the world as it was known at that time.

Segger values the old Bible first of all, “because it is the Word of God.” A world traveler who has been on three world cruises, Segger was also fascinated by the Bible’s map of the world. “There are places not on that map,” said Segger, “like Easter Island, which was not discovered until 1722!”

Prior to the unveiling ceremony in the library, college president Harry Fernhout read Ecclesiastes 3 from the Bible in Dutch to the more than 100 students, staff, and guests gathered for the weekly chapel service.

“The Bible is a significant contribution to The King’s University College,” said Fernhout at the unveiling. “This almost 300-year-old book is a symbol of the inspiration the Bible has provided throughout many generations and honors the legacy of our founding generation, many of whom were Dutch immigrants. This Bible also serves as a symbol of the biblical vision and story that guides our institution. We are grateful for Mr. Segger’s thoughtful gift.”

The Bible will remain on display in a locked glass cabinet in the Simona Maaskant Library with access by special permission.

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