Ingleton's Vinegar Bible

I spent a pleasant afternoon in Ingleton this month. An appointment was cancelled and the sun shone in a clear blue sky; it was too good an opportunity to miss. Having enjoyed walking about the village I repaired to the parish church whose interior I have never previously managed to inspect. The building is largely Victorian and of little interest, though the tower I dated 1470-1500, which must be the oldest part of the structure. Inside, however, are a number of curiosities, not least of which is a Bible inside a glass case. This is one of the famous, or infamous, ‘vinegar Bibles’. Published by the King’s Printer, John Baskett, in 1713-17, a number of typos were admitted into the text, despite his employment of proof-readers. The most famous was the chapter heading in Luke 20 which should have read ‘The parable of the vineyard’ but was instead ‘the parable of the vinegar’. Now my eyes are all but blind to my own typos, so I have every sympathy for Mr Baskett and his Bible, but he and it were subjected to ridicule and censure thereafter. One reviewer dismissed the volume as a  ‘Baskett-ful of errors’, and may be the origin of our contemporary expression ‘a complete basket case’.

The exhibited Vinegar Bible delighted me, though there is, naturally, a prescient point to be made here. Misrepresenting, misquoting and misappropriating God’s word for some particular end is a grave sin. Even dealing with it in a careless fashion is a dangerous occupation. Those basket cases who mistranslate it and peddle false gospels await a fate far worse than King George’s derided printer.