Rev. Ruben Dominguez, retired pastor serving in South Texas, joins Andy and Sarah to share the story of Casiodoro de Reina (ca. 1520-1594) during Hispanic Heritage Month, including what we know about his life, how the Reformation came to Spain, why it was important to Casiodoro to translate the Bible into Spanish, the difficulties Casiodoro endured in order to create this translation, and how this translation has impacted Spanish-speaking culture still today. Read the article from the LCMS Reporter on his life: reporter.lcms.org/2021/casiodoro-de-reina-translator-and-publisher-of-first-complete-spanish-bible.
Casiodoro de Reina (ca. 1520-1594), translator and publisher of the first complete Bible in Spanish
Casiodoro de Reina, a monk, was one of the first Spaniards to embrace the principles of the Reformation of the church in the Seville area around the mid-16th century. Those principles are grounded solely on the text of the Bible. Aware of the importance of spreading the Bible among his fellow citizens, Reina set himself the goal of publishing it completely in Spanish.
After years of work and challenges found outside of Spain to gather, translate and revise various existing translations of the biblical text, Reina completed his work. Afterward, he received the assignment of finding a printer, nothing easy in those years.
The first printing of the complete Bible in Spanish was finished in 1569 in Basel, Switzerland. The original cover contained an illustration of a standing bear trying to eat honey from the honeycomb hidden in a tree trunk; for this reason, it conventionally received the name of The Bear Bible. Using that cover to introduce it into Spain, Reina concealed its content from the Inquisition, an institution which had previously condemned him as a “heresiarch” (teacher of heretics), and had burned him in effigy in the Auto-de-Fe executed in April 1562 in the main plaza of Seville.
Reina wanted all Spain to get the benefits of the Gospel message, especially the teaching of achieving justification by faith alone before God thanks to the sacrifice and merits of Jesus Christ won on the cross. Reina died in Frankfurt, Germany while serving as pastor of a Lutheran congregation of foreign refugees.
Reina’s translation and publication of the biblical text have made a significant impact among Spanish-speaking people. His legacy will surely carry on because his version, now commonly known as Reina-Valera, is the most widely read in evangelical churches and circles in the Spanish-speaking world.
Have a topic you’d like to hear about on The Coffee Hour? Contact Andy Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-996-1519.