Did Bibles have footnotes or endnotes in earlier times? If not, how were these indicated?

Footnotes and endnotes, which are common features in modern textbooks and scholarly works, were not present in the earliest versions of the Bible. However, there were other ways in which additional information and annotations were indicated.

In earlier times, the Bible was often written or copied by hand, and scribes would include marginal notes or glosses to provide additional information or clarify difficult passages. These notes were often written in smaller script and placed in the margins of the main text. These marginal notes could include commentary on the text, translations of difficult words or phrases, or cross-references to other parts of the Bible.

Another way in which additional information was indicated was through the use of illuminated manuscripts. Illuminated manuscripts were hand-copied versions of the Bible that were decorated with illustrations, borders, and other decorative elements. These manuscripts often included additional information in the form of marginalia or annotations, which were written in the same style and color as the decorative elements.

As the printing press was invented and mass production of books became possible, footnotes and endnotes began to be used in printed versions of the Bible. These notes were printed in smaller typeface and placed at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or at the end of the chapter or book (endnotes). Footnotes and endnotes provided a way to include additional information and annotations without interrupting the flow of the main text.

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Jamie Larson