You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

300-year-old Bible in New Jersey is known for a typo

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 15/04/2017 Jerry Carino
A 300-year-old "Vinegar" Bible, the rarest and most valuable Bible at the Jersey Shore, is displayed at Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury. © Tanya Breen A 300-year-old "Vinegar" Bible, the rarest and most valuable Bible at the Jersey Shore, is displayed at Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury.

SHREWSBURY, N.J. — The 300-year-old Bible at Christ Episcopal Church sits locked in a glass case, untouched since 1916. It's opened to Luke 20, and that is not random.

There, on the heading of the left-hand page, is one of Christianity’s most infamous typos.

Jesus’ parable of the vineyard, in which he assures grace for all believers regardless of how late in life they convert, is mislabeled “The Parable of the Vinegar.” It’s one of several misprints in this 1717 King James edition by English printer John Baskett — an ornate, expensive version that worshipers of the day nicknamed “a Baskett full of errors.”

There are 17 known copies in the United States. At 19-inches long and thick as a stack of newspapers, with beautiful illustrations that were rare for the time, the so-called “Vinegar Bible” could be worth upward of $10,000.

“The idea was to have a very large one, easy for reading, very prominent,” Christ Church historian Robert Kelly said. “It sits out there and it’s imposing. The price was imposing, too.”

Kelly said the Bible originally retailed for the rought equivalent of $10 — a princely sum in the 18th century. Christ Church, which was founded in 1702, acquired its copy as a gift in 1752.​

Church founders “didn’t have a lot of materials or resources,” Kelly explained, so the donation would have been particularly prized. Perhaps that’s why the congregation used it for so long.

To celebrate the Vinegar Bible’s tricentennial this year, Kelly may invite a conservationist to open up the glass case and assess its physical status. The pages are yellowed and frayed as one might expect.

After two centuries of use, “it became a little fragile,” he said.

Follow Jerry Carino on Twitter: @njhoopshaven

More From USA TODAY

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon