Posted by Eric » 1 Comment »
No, not as in paraphrasing the Bible in meter (though I’m interested in that, too), but as in actually placing verse-divisions in the text, accomplished by Robert Etienne/Robertus Stephanus (d. 1559). More from Pfeiffer:
In the year after the completion of the first Latin Thesaurus Robertus Stephanus turned to the printing of Greek books. He began in 1554 with the editio princeps of Eusebius’ ecclesiastical history, following it with seven other first editions. But his own special desire was to spread the knowledge of the Scriptures; and from 1545 onwards he published several editions. His first production was the folio edition of the Greek testament in 1550, in point of beauty of execution still the most perfect edition ever printed. The text was that of Erasmus’ third edition of 1535, but variant readings of fifteen manuscripts were added in the margins. As the King’s printer, he had been engaged in a continuous and damaging feud with the old university of Paris. Now, because of renewed difficulties, he removed the chief part of his press to Geneva, and there in 1551 he made an open profession of the reformed faith. While his second son Robert remained in the old house in Paris as a Catholic, his eldest son Henri became his successor in Geneva, the two Stephanian presses continuing to exist without any hostility. The Geneva edition of the Greek Testament of 1551 is remarkable in being the first in which the text was divided into verses. The division of the text of the New Testament into chapters (kephalaia) is to be found in manuscripts of the fourth century onwards, and probably had its origin in liturgical use. Robertus Stephanus cut the chapters into shorter sections (tmhmata, sectiunculae) and numbered them by figures. We are told that he carried out the operation while travelling on horseback from Paris to Lyons, perhaps during the journey by which he left France for good; he extended the system from his Greek New Testament of 1551 to the Latin Old Testament in his edition of 1556. All Protestant printers adopted this useful innovation, and the printing of Stephanus’s verse numbers in the definitive Catholic edition of the Vulgate in 1592 set the pattern for Roman Catholic Bibles also; in this respect at least all denominations are united. The second remarkable success of Robert’s Greek Testament was that his text was reprinted by all the presses of Europe, become ‘textus receptus’, as it was called in the Elzevier edition of 1633, and was never altered until Lachmann’s completely new critical recension of 1831 made a fresh start necessary.
(History of Classical Scholarship, vol. 2, pp. 108-9