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What books did Johann Sebastian Bach have on his shelves at the time of his death?

We have a list of them.
Most of the books themselves were lost.


But not all of them.

Fortunately the book that for Bach was the most important, his three-volume Bible, has been preserved and found its way to a library in St. Louis, USA.

BACH'S BIBLE

With notes in his own hands.

Bach lived from 1685 to 1750 – some three hundred years ago. A surprisingly large number of documents from his life have been preserved. Most of these are musical manuscripts. Other documents are of a general nature such as receipts and formal letters. Some documents are more personal, such as letters to close friends, but they are always intended for the eyes of others.
Only one document has come down to us that only Bach himself saw. These are the notes he made in his Bible. Outside of Bach himself these were probably only seen by his wife Anna Magdalena.
For Bach, the Bible was not just a book for the shelf, or a source for cantata texts. Bach studied the Bible carefully. Het underlined phrases, made comments in the margins, even corrected typographical errors.

 

Reading the Bible with Bach

The Bible plays a central role in the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. Many of the texts that Bach set to music were taken directly from the Bible. The Bible that lay on Bach’s desk will now be accessible to everyone. So you can read along with Bach.

The "Bach Bible", also known as the Calov Bible after the man who published it, is not just a Bible but a Bible commentary. Abraham Calovius added notes and commentaries to the Bible text. For this he drew on the works of Luther. In his many works Luther often commented on Bible texts. Calov brings these comments together in this three-volume Bible edition.
Thus this Bach Bible is not only a unique emotional monument: enabling us to read the Bible that Bach read and see the texts of his music highlighted in it; the Bible also provides direct access to the spiritual world of Bach – texts that nurtured and supported Bach’s faith.

 

You can acquire this unique publication in a number of ways.

Given the extremely costly process of production, the price for an edition of this size and quality is relatively low: € 5500. If you subscribe in advance, you will pay only
€ 4800. And this amount can be paid in monthly installments – without extra cost.