Is it possible to find the text online of any of the Bibles/NT's in the list below? I fetched the "text only" option of Beza's NT from archive.org, but the amount of typos is considerable :(

  • Theodore Beza's NT
  • Immanuel Tremellio's OT
  • Sebastian Castellio's Bible
  • Sebastian Schmidt's OT
  • Abraham Calov's Bible
  • Santes Pagninus' Bible

1 Answer 1


Hathi Trust Digital Library is a great resource of texts, most of them freely available to read online. If you belong to an member institution, you can also download them. Quality is usually great, and text are fully searchable.

I did not search for all in your list, but here is a list of results with OT/NT/Bibles in Latin:

  • Theodore Beze: here and here
  • Immanuel Tremellius: here
  • Sébastien Castellión: here

Use advanced search for faster search, and use filters when possible (Latin, Bible, etc). Notice that author names are usually in the original language, so do not look for their English names.

Note on plain text format: in the above website, every file has a "text-only" equivalent, which can be accessed in the left-side bar. The quality of this text however might not be very good. As the help page states, this is normally OCR-produced text, which is, as far as I understand, also the source of plain text from digitalised PDFs in www.archive.org.

Why not to OCR the files yourself?

(This method applies to any file, including the ones from www.archive.org.)

For instance, consider this page of Novum testamentum Domini nostri Jesu Christi, by Theodoro Beza. If you click on text-only at the left (and change address bar to seq=97, you will get the Google-OCR version:

LUCA. XV. 29 Ut ne postquam posuerit funda- mentum, et non potuerit perficere, omnes qui spectarint, incipiant illi il- mdere; 30 Dicentes, Homoistecoepitaedi- ficare, et non potuit aedijicium perfi- cere. 31 Aut quis rex proficiscens ut com- mittat praelium adversus alterum re- gem, non prius consultat considens, \u possit cum decem millibus occur- ;ere illi qui cum viginti millibus ve- pit adversus ipsum? 32 Alioquin, quum adhuc ille pro- cul est, legatione missa, rogat ea quae ad pacem spectant. 33 Si•, ergo, quisquis vestrOm non valedicit omnibus bonis suis, non po- test meus esse discipulus. 34 Bonus est sal: si vero sal infa- tuatus fuerit, quo condietur? 35 Neque ad terram neque ad ster- quilinium appositus est: foras eum abjiciunt. Qui habet aures ad audi- endum, audiat . CAP. XV. ACCEDEBANT autem ad eum omnes publicani et peccatores, ut eum audirent. 2 Et murmurabant Pharisaei et srribae, dicentes, Iste peccatores reci- pit, et edit cum eis. 3 Ipse vero loquutus est ad eos hanc parabolam, dicens, 4 Quis ex vobis, si habeat centum oves, et perdiderit unam ex illis, non relinquit illas nonaginta novem in de- serto, et abit ad eam quae periit, us- quedum eam invenerit? 5 Et eam nactus imponit in hume- ros suos gsudens: 6 Veniensque domum convocat Mnicos et vicinos, dicens eis, Gratu- lamini mibi; nam inveni ovem meam quae perierat . 7 Dico vobis, ita fore gaudium in eoelo super uno peccatore resipiscente, magis quam super nonaginta novem justis, quibus non opus est resip/s- wntia. 8 A.:t quaemulier. si hibeat drach- mas decem, et perdideiH drachmani unam, non accendit lucernam, et ver, rit domum, quaeritque accurate. us- quequo eam invenerit? 9 Et eam nacta, convocat amicas ac viciuas, dicens, Gratulamini mibi; nam inveni drachmam quam perd'i©' ram. 10 Ita dico vobis, gaudium est .n conspectu angelorum Dei super uno peccatore resipiscente. 11 Ait autem, Quidam habebat duos filios; 12 Quorum junior dixit patri, Pa- ter, da mibi partem substautiae ad me attinentem. Ille igitur divisiteis fa- cultates. 13 Post dies autem non multos, congestis omnibus, junior ille filiua peregre profectus est in regionem longinquam: et illic dissipavit sub- stantiam suam, profuse vivendo. 14 Quum autem omnia ipse con- sumpsisset, orta est fames valida in regione illa; et ipse coepit victu de- fici: 15 Abiit igitur et adhaesit uni ex civibus regionis illius; qui misit eum in agros suos, ut pasceret porcos. 16 Et desiderabat implere ventrem suum siliquis, quas edebant porci: et nemo ei dabat. 17 Quum autem ad se rediisset, dixit, Quot mercenarii patris mei a- bundant panibus, ego vero fame pe- reo! 18 Surgens proficiscar ad patrem meum, et dicam ei, Pater, peccavi in coelum et in tuo conspectu; 19 Neque amplius sum dignus vo- cari filius tu'is: fac me ut unum ex mercenariis tuis. 20 Surgens igitur contendit ad patrem suum. Quum autem adhuc longe abesset, vidit eum pater ipsius, et intima misericordia motus est; et accurrens incidil in collum ejus, et deosculatus est eum. 21 Dixit autem ei filius, Pater, peccavi in coelum et in tuo conspec- tu, neque dignus sum amplius vocah filius tuua. 87

This is not very bad at all.

Alternatively, you can produce it yourself. It seems the highest quality software out there might be tesseract-ocr, an open-source software, built upon machine-learning methods, apparently under development by ... Google. Installation instructions are here. I strongly recommend installing the latest version (beta), as I tried with the stable one (in Ubuntu 16.04) and results were not that great.

Quick installations commands for Ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alex-p/tesseract-ocr
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tesseract-ocr libtesseract-dev tesseract-ocr-lat tesseract-ocr-script-latn

Say we want to OCR the Novum Testamentum ... page above. Download the PDF page in the menu at the right and save (e.g as page.pdf). Now, open a terminal where that file is. We need to convert the PDF to an image, because the program does not read the former. In Linux, use this (image properties are important; see here):

 convert -density 300 page.pdf -depth 8 page.tiff

Then, OCR the image, as follows:

 tesseract page.tiff out.txt -l Latin

The result is very nice (see here). It is superior to the Google-OCR one because it keeps the structure of the document (columns) and makes a humble but decent attempt at keeping macrons, which the Google version omits.

Amazingly, this package can also work with older Latin typesetting, like fell types. For instance, consider page 324 of the Institutio christianae religionis, by John Calvin. The PDF is a scan from a 1559 edition. After producing the PDF, I ran:

convert -density 300 page.pdf -depth 8 page.tiff
tesseract page.tiff test.txt -l Latin

The result is amazing! See here. Importantly, it is better than the plain text in archive.org (search for J24 INSTITVTIONIS LIB. III. to get to the same text). Why is this? Hard to say. For books, users cannot upload their own OCR plain text to PDF books they submit, but these are created automatically by archive.org. There are some optimal conditions (including correctly defining the language of the document). But I used the exact same file available there. So my guess is they are not using the "optimal" software for OCR.

Summary: produce your own text files!

  • Thanks a lot @luchonacho. I was looking for raw text format, for instance: sacred-texts.com/bib/vul/oba001.htm#011 but your suggestions are much appreciated! Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 13:02
  • Yes, I agree. How nice it'd be though to have some automatic corrector for OCR. BTW I OCR'd Romans 6 and 7 (1 Word page Font 10) from a crisp Beza .pdf, and although the amount of errors was not huge, it was very tedious to fix them. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 13:18
  • 1
    @OliverAmundsen One option I've thought of in the past is to set up a website (e.g. on github) where people can collaboratively make changes/suggestions to the raw text. If the text is of sufficient interest, others would come up to help, whilst contributing to the public domain. Perhaps someone already have done this.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 13:26
  • That'd be interesting Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 13:34
  • Thanks a lot! that methodology in Ubuntu exceeds my knowledge I'm afraid... :( Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 18:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.