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Jacobus van Meteren

Sir Jacobus van Meteren was a/the? financier and publisher of early English versions of the Bible. He was a/the? financier and publisher of the Coverdale Old Testament, the printing of which was completed on the 4th of October 1535. He was also a/the? publisher of Matthew Bible of 1637, the combined work of William Tyndale, Coverdale and John Rogers.

There has been some debate over these facts, which the following quote from the entry "Bible, English" in the 1911 Encyclopedia illustrates:

"In 1877 Henry Stevens, in his catalogue of the Caxton Exhibition, pointed out a statement by a certain Simeon Ruytinck in his life of Emanuel van Meteren, appended to the latter's Nederlandische Historic (16,4), that Jacob van Meteren, the father of Emanuel, had manifested great zeal in producing at Antwerp a translation of the Bible into English, and had employed for that purpose a certain learned scholar named Miles Conerdale (sic).

"In 1884 further evidence was adduced by W. J. C. Moens, who reprinted an affidavit signed by Emanuel van Meteren, 28 May 1609, to the effect that 'he was brought to England anno 1550 . . . by his father, a furtherer of reformed religion, and he that caused the first Bible at his costes to be Englisshed by Mr Myles Coverdal in Andwarp, the w'h his father, with Mr Edward Whytchurch, printed both in Paris and London' (Registers of the Dutch Reformed Church, Austin Friars, 1884, p. xiv.).

"Apart from the reference to Whytchurch and the place of printing, this statement agrees with that of Simeon Ruytinck, and it is possible that Van Meteren showed his zeal in the matter by undertaking the cost of printing the work as well as that of remunerating the translator. Mr W. Aldis Wright, however, judging from the facts that the name of Whytchurch was introduced, that the places of printing were given as London and Paris, not Antwerp, and lastly that Emanuel van Meteren being born in 1535 could only have derived his knowledge from hearsay, is inclined to think that the Bible in which J. van Meteren was interested 'was Matthew's of 1537 or the Great Bible of '539, and not Coverdale's of 1535'"

In fact in Emanuel van Meteren's affidavit of 1609 he is referring to both the Coverdale Old Testament of 1535, when his father employed Myles Coverdale as translator, and the Matthew Bible of 1537, printed in Paris and London. For the latter J. van Meteren employed Tyndale as translator, assisted before his execution by Rogers.

Rogers married J. van Meteren's niece, Adriana, the same year that the Matthew Bible was published. Because J. van Meteren was the publisher for both of these works, he was readily able to provide Rogers with Coverdale's prior work covering those books of the Old Testament which Tyndale had not had time to translate.



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