Teeny, tiny bible a testament to its creators

Dunedin librarian Julian Smith holds what could be the world’s smallest printed New Testament...
Dunedin librarian Julian Smith holds what could be the world’s smallest printed New Testament from the Dunedin Public Libraries’ rare book collection. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin is already home to the world’s steepest street but it might have another world size record hidden away in the public library.

Tucked away in the Dunedin Public Libraries’ rare book collection is a New Testament measuring 18mm by 15mm.

Rare books librarian Julian Smith said when the tiny book was printed in Glasgow in 1895 it was the world’s smallest.

Since then, an Old Testament had been etched on a microchip the size of a grain of sand by a team at the Israel Institute of Technology, but Mr Smith believed Dunedin’s miniature New Testament was still the smallest printed version in the world.

Printed on special thin paper, the miniature New Testament is about 520 pages long and needs to be read with a microscope.

Mr Smith said he had no official confirmation the bible was the world’s smallest, but he was happy to have other claims to the record passed on to him.

"From my research I can’t find any smaller New Testament which has been printed."

The miniature was given to the library by Dorothy Stewart from St Leonards, but the date was not recorded, Mr Smith said.

"It’s been with us for at least 50 years but after that I wouldn’t be able to say."

While there were no plans for the bible to be put on display soon, it was a favourite of school pupils who visited the library, he said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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