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The Donnithorne Wicked Bible

Welcome to the Wicked Bible Project!

This website facilitates access to a digitised copy of the Donnithorne-Christchurch Bible, the only known Wicked Bible to exist in the southern hemisphere. The site also showcases research relating to both this copy and to Wicked Bibles more generally.

The Wicked Bible is a 1631 printing of the King James English translation of the bible. The name wicked comes from an error in the list of the ten commandments given in the Book of Exodus. The seventh commandment should read Thou shalt not commit adultery; copies of the Wicked Bible omit the word not.

What makes the Donnithorne-Christchurch Wicked Bible different?

Each of the twenty-five known Wicked Bibles is a unique cultural artefact with its own fascinating story. The Donnithorne-Christchurch copy is rare not simply because it contains the famous error. It is a composite volume in which the bible is bound with three other contemporary books. While many Wicked Bibles were separated from such additional material, the Donnithorne-Christchurch copy remains much closer to the book that the inhabitants of 17th-century England would have read. It offers a clearer window into their world. The Donnithorne-Christchurch Bible also employs decorative red-lining, which is unusual. In fact, it is the only publicly accessible composite volume to include this feature. It is also complete; some copies, such as that in the British Library, have had missing folios replaced with material taken from other printings.

The Wicked Bible Project

The Wicked Bible Project is generously supported by The Phil and Louise Donnithorne Family Trust, which owns the Donnithorne-Christchurch Bible, and by the UC Foundation. This funding has enabled the conservation and digitisation of the Bible. Funding of UC Summer Scholarships by Maxwell Logistics in 202223 has enabled the creation of this research platform by the UC Arts Digital Lab. Launched in 2023, the project website is modular. Research on the platform is student led. New research modules will be created and added to the basic site over time in order to enhance our understanding of both the Wicked Bible and the society that produced it.