One of the most famous misprints in publishing history is the so called ‘Wicked’ or ‘Adulterous Bible’ of 1631. The printers, Barker & Lewis, left out an important ‘not’ in Exodus 20:14; the seventh commandment read, “Thou shalt commit adultery”.
Undoubtedly there was much ‘Woo hoooing’, ribald jesting and fornication amongst the populace, however the Church and authorities frowned on the slip. Most copies were recalled and destroyed, and the printer was fined £300. Only 11 copies are known of today.
Another ‘Wicked Bible’ also known as ‘The Unrighteous Bible’ from The Cambridge Press, published in 1653, also omitted a crucial ‘not’. Corinthians 6:9 read thusly, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God?” Oops. That should of course read ‘not inherit’. The same edition had the unrighteous succeeding again in Romans 6:13, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of righteousness into sin…”. That should be ‘unrighteousness’. One can see how with numerous double and multiple negatives, ‘Yield ye not ye’s’ and ‘know ye that ye shall not neither’s’, one could easily be lead into error.
There are numerous other examples of Biblical errata. From the infamous Blasphemous Comma, to Judas walking in the garden of Gethsemane, the eye-wateringly funny Parable Of The Vinegar, to two that should be the mottos of modern times, “Go and sin on more”, and “The fool hath said in his heart there is a God”. One can be amused and understanding. Compiling all that swirly lead type was undoubtedly a strain on the eyes of a poor printer’s devil.
These days whence the devil is all in the machine, and the type is is corrected almost automatically by electronical spirits, one would expect that such errors were more easily avoided. Apparently not. If gastronomy is the new religion, than the Pasta Bible (2009, Penguin, Melbourne) by Lee Blaylock contains an error as amusing and grievous as any of the the infamous erroneous Bibles.
The Pasta Bible’s recipe for Spelt Tagliatelle with Sardines & Prosciuto sounds quite exotic and tasty. Spelt is a 7000 year old species of wheat, popular as a health food and becoming quite sought after by connoisseurs. The other ingredients, including sardines and prosciutto, both earthy and exquisite, no doubt make it appealing to a gastronome of refined tastes. Unfortunately the addition of salt and freshly ground black people, limits the appeal to perhaps a bon vivant of the Hannibal Lecter variety.
Some may be eagerly awaiting a Hannibal Lecter cookbook from Penguin, because they may have wondered the best way to prepare Liver and Fava Beans, to be served with a nice Chianti.
The rest of us will be happy to have salt and ground black pepper with our pasta.
Penguin recalled and pulped the erroneous recipe book. However some copies, for the dedicated cannibal chef collector, do show up, often fetching prices of over $250.