This is the first I’ve heard of the “wicked Bible.” Now half the country will be wanting one:
Did a typo launch Oxford University Press? The most notorious misprint ever produced was committed in 1631 by the King of England’s official bible printer. The seventh commandment appeared in print without the word “not,” becoming “Thou shalt commit adultery.” In an age fearful of religious heresy and moral degeneracy, this so-called “wicked” bible was taken as bearing a seriously dangerous message, if not a deliberate one. So, the printer had to pay an appropriately serious fine. Pressing his advantage, the archbishop of Canterbury further compelled him to publish three texts in ancient Greek, to launch what he intended as an extensive publishing program in the classics. The program was to be associated with Oxford University, and would issue works of specialized learning that the commercial market could not support. The initiative was interrupted by the outbreak of civil war and the archbishop’s own execution as a traitor, but revived in 1660 when the war ended. The relaunched project eventually became what is now Oxford University Press.
You know, this book really would’ve come in handy for the Vicomte de Valmont in Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses.