Medieval Spanish Jews had a tradition of oral translation of Biblical readings into Spanish, and several manuscript translations were made, either for Jewish use or for Christian patrons, for example the 1430 Alba Bible. However, restrictions were placed on the private ownership of Spanish translations of the Bible, partly as a measure against Protestantism and partly for fear that crypto-Jews would use them as a resource for learning Jewish practices. The classic Spanish translation of the Bible is that of Casiodoro de Reina, revised by Cipriano de Valera. It was for the use of the incipient Protestant movement and is widely regarded as the Spanish equivalent of the King James Version.
Following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the refugees took these versions with them. In 1553 a printed version, known as the Ferrara Bible, was made in Latin characters for the Duke Ercole II d’Este of Ferrara. In Constantinople and Salonica Bibles were printed in Hebrew, flanked by translations into Ladino and Judaeo-Greek in Hebrew characters, for the use of the Sephardi Jews. Some later prints contained the Ladino text alone.
Spanish translations of the Bible first appear in the 13th century, high-fidelity Castilian renderings of the Hebrew original. They were followed in the 15th century by several revisions, each of equally high accuracy, eventually leading to the Constantine Pentateuch (1547) and the Ferrara Bible.
The Ferrara Bible was used in de Reina’s Protestant translation:
January 1, 1569
While in exile during the Spanish Inquisition, Casiodoro de Reina completes the first full Spanish Bible, nicknamed the “Biblia del Oso” (Bible of the Bear) for the hungry honey bear on its title page.
Spanish exiles transported this version east as far as Annatolia, and north into Amsterdam for use by Spanish and Portuguese Jews.
Spanish is also known as Castellano, Castilian, and Español.
- Which Spanish Bible is Correct?, Jeff McArdle – Bible Believers
- Comparison of Spanish Texts with English Texts, Ernest Sigrest – Bible Believers
- 1569 Spanish “Bear” Bible – Bibles Online
- Spanish Hebrew Bible – Online Gallery: Sacred Texts, The English Bible Board
- Maria Cornou on the Most-used Spanish-language Bible Translation, Joan Huyser-Honig, Maria Cornou – Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
- The Spanish Bible. Which one should you use: 1602,1865,1909,1960?, Mike Wilps – Chick Publications