Recently, the Vatican issued a commemorative coin to celebrate the accession of Pope Francis I, featuring the Latin phrase that inspired the new pope to become a priest. Unfortunately there was a minor error in the coins that required the Vatican to recall them. Here is an account in Yahoo News.
Copy editors the world over can empathize (and cringe) with this mistake.
The medallion celebrating Pope Francis, includes a Latin phrase that reportedly inspired the new pope to become a priest.
In English, the phrase reads: “Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, follow me.”
So it read, in Latin, “Lesus therefore…”. That isn’t too bad compared to other famous typos, and if you could acquire one of these defective coins they will no doubt become very valuable in coming years.
But as a coin dealer told The New York Times, the flawed coins could be highly sought after by collectors.
“Regardless of what the Vatican decides to do now, it’s an interesting purchase for a collector,” Francesco Santarossa, owner of a numismatic and philatelic shop near St. Peter’s Square in Rome, said in a phone interview. “I don’t think they ever made such a mistake in the 600-year-long history of papal medals.”
At least the mistake was only on a coin and not in a new edition of the Bible.
Of course, the Vatican copy editors aren’t the first to miss a typo. There are many other famous mistakes throughout the history of Christian printing.
For example, the 1631 printing of the King James Version Bible has been dubbed the “Wicked Bible.” As one peruses the 10 Commandments, one will notice that Exodus 20:14 reads “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
England’s King Charles 1 and the Archbishop of Canterbury were not amused. Most copies of that bible were burned. The printers were fined 300 pounds (a large sum at the time) and lost their printing license. Only 11 copies of the “Wicked Bible” are known to exist today. The New York Public Library and The British Library in London each have copies.
And there’s the 1612 King James edition of the “Printer’s Bible,” which famously rewrites Psalm 119: 161 “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” rather than “Princes have persecuted me…” Speculation is that a typesetter, disgruntled with his publisher, introduced this error.
There are many more examples of “bible errata,”often amusing in retrospect but scandalous in the day. For example, A KJV printing in 1611 became known as the “Judas Bible.” It replaced “Jesus” with “Judas” in the passage from Matthew 26:36 “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”
I wonder if anyone with a copy of the Wicked Bible ever said to their spouse that they were required to commit adultery because the Bible told them so.
- What would Lesus do? Vatican recalls Pope Francis medals after Jesus spelling error (metro.co.uk)
- Vatican pulls misspelled ‘Lesus’ coins (wdsu.com)
- For the love of ‘Lesus’: Vatican withdraws coins with misspelling (seattletimes.com)
- Jesus Lesus! That’s a Mega-Typo (lafiga.firedoglake.com)