The Alfonso Bible


King Alfonso the Wise

King Alfonso X of Castile (1221-1284) commissioned the earliest known translation of the scriptures into the Spanish tongue, with an entire Old Testament produced in 1240 A.D. This version today is known as La Biblia Alfonsina or The Alfonsine Bible.

As a scholar, poet, and writer, King Alfonso believed in preserving knowledge. Tolerating Christians, Jews, and Muslims in his reign, he translated many of their works into Spanish and Latin. His library consisted of well over 32,000 volumes, most of which he made available in a public library for peoples of all faith.

King Alfonso today is known as “Alfonso the Wise” for his great knowledge, and desire to see it dispersed to others. With his “School of Translators” in Toledo, a group of Christian, Moslem, and Jewish scholars, he made many Arab works available to Europeans in Latin and Spanish translations. His main interests were astronomy, astrology, and of course the Bible.

In his own work, “General e grande Estoria.” King Alfonso ties the history of the modern world of his day into the history given in the Hebrew Bible, showing he believed in the veracity of the Hebrew Old Testament.

Although his Old Testament used Hebrew texts in its translation, it also followed many readings from the corrupt Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate. It also did not see much publication, as Juan I of Aragon, in 1233, prohibited vernacular versions of the Scripture, and ordered any such work to be burned. Thus, the Alfonsine Bible was locked up in the Royal Library for countless centuries, unviewed and unavailable to the common man.








Click here to see his translation of the Psalms in adobe format