If „Biblia Americana“ is indeed such an extraordinary work of American scholarship, why was Mather unsuccessful in finding a publisher? A quick glance at the sheer size of the 6 folio volumes may easily explain why. Even before „Biblia“ attained its present size by 1728, Cotton Mather turned to the print medium to attract subscribers for his planned Commentary (in 2 vols.) at the rate of „five Pounds of our Money, to the Subscribers“ („New Offer“ [1714?]). Advertising his „Biblia Americana“ in his Bonifacius (1710), in an especially printed handbill „New Offer to the Lovers of Religion and Learning“ (Boston, 1714?), and in various publications including his recently edited Threefold Paradise: „Triparadisus“ (1995), Mather enlisted subscribers „for more than one hundred setts of the Work; to be paid in upon their Arrival here [Boston]; if [publishers] will run the Risque thereof“ (Diary 2:312). Moreover, Mather wrote long pleading letters to his English friends in Old and New England to garner the financial backing necessary before publishers would commit their limited resources. T.J. Holmes perhaps best summarizes the issue: „It is clear that the Biblia Americana failed of publication not through defects in its literary or scholarly qualities, for the manuscript never left Boston, and was not viewed by any London publisher. The great work called for a large outlay of capital, which was not forthcoming. Matthew Henry’s Exposition of the Old and New Testament . . . had already advanced far in its publication. . . . That work being in course of publication . . . may have been a factor in discouraging new heavy undertakings of capital for what seemed to be another work of similar nature“ (Cotton Mather: A Bibliography 2:735). Despite constant disappointments, Mather never gave up hope that his magnum opus would see the light of print–even as he kept adding hundreds of new pages to the existing corpus until his death in 1727/28 (Samuel Mather’s Life of Cotton Mather [1729], p. 73).

Centuries later, Mather’s hopes are finally coming true. The publication of the Biblia Americana is only possible because of the generous support from numerous funding bodies, including mostly recently a substantial gift from the McDonald Agape Foundation that will fund the publication of the final three volumes and support an international conference. Among others, the Henry Luce Foundation, the DFG (German Research Foundation), Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, and the Massachusetts Historical Society have also provided invaluable resources.

Below is a brief timeline and overview of the project to-date.

2023-2026 A substantial gift from the McDonald Agape Foundation will support the publication of volumes 6, 7, and 8, as well as an international conference to be held in Heidelberg.

2023: Publication of Vol. 10: Hebrews – Revelation (1101 pp.); Editor: Jan Stievermann, University of Heidelberg

2019: Publication Vol. 2: Exodus – Deuteronomy (1461 pp.); Editor: Reiner Smolinski, Georgia State University

2018: Publication of Vol. 9: Romans – Philemon (754 pp.); Editor: Robert E. Brown, James Madison University

2018: Conference on “Biblical Interpretation and Transatlantic Evangelicalism” at the Andrew Fuller Center (SBS), resulting in a subsequent edited volume

2016-2023: Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the publication of vols. 8, 2, and 10

2015: Publication of Vol. 5: Proverbs – Jeremiah (1101 pp.); Editor: Jan Stievermann, University of Heidelberg

2014: Publication of Vol. 4: Ezra – Psalms (865 pp.); Editor: Harry Clark Maddux, Appalachian State University

2013: Publication of Vol. 3: Joshua – Chronicles (893 pp.); Editor: Kenneth P. Minkema, Yale Divinity School

2010-2013: Grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to support the edition of vol. 5 and 10

2010: Jan Stievermann (then University of Tübingen) appointed as Executive Editor

2010: Publication of Vol. 1: Genesis (1337 pp.); Editor: Reiner Smolinski, Georgia State University

2008–2011: Grant from the Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg (Germany) for the edition of vol. 5

2008: Kick-off Conference on “Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana” in Tübingen, Germany, resulting in the publication of an edited volume

Early 2000s: General Editor Reiner Smolinski  plans and organizes the Biblia Americana edition and assembles a team of editors