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1561 AD.



The Reformation was one of the main motors for the development of the theological literature in Poland. It was also a main reason for translating the Bible to the national languages.


John Leopolita's Bible was the first complete printed edition of the Bible in Polish. The translation was requested by Mark Szarffenberg and his son Stanisław; therefore it is also known as the Szarffenbergowska Bible. The translation was dedicated to the king, Zygmunt August. It was the second Catholic Bible translated to Polish, after Queen Zofia's Bible. This Bible was printed in 1561. The main sources of the translation came from the Latin Vulgate, Czech translations, and to some extent, the original Greek text of the New Testament. The name of the translator was not included in that first edition. However we now know that before the second edition was published, it was corrected by Jan Nicz from Lviv, who was known as Leopolita.


It is possible that Leopolita did not include his full name for fear of persecution from the Catholic church, which had forbidden publishing the Bible in national languages. This first edition of the Leopolita's Bible is special because it included 284 woodcuts representing various Biblical situations. The illustrations came from Martin Luther's Bible, which was published in 1534 in Wittenberg. Leopolita's Bible is a translation from the Middle Ages, so it does not include verse divisions and the vocabulary is not rich. They may have replaced a given Latin word with two Polish words or included words that did not appear in the Vulgate in order to emphasize or explain the meaning of the passage. Because of that, it was a very innovative attempt to reflect the main thought of the Word. This translation was a great achievement of the Catholic Church. Leopolita's Bible became a substructure for the following Catholic translations, which are known today as Jakub Wujek's Bible.


Biblie PolskieWikipedia,





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