This massive work was initiated and supervised by the Spanish Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros. The reasons for undertaking this monumental work were equally impressive … as Cardinal Cisneros indicated in the Polyglot:
“… the most learned translator can present only a part of this, the full Scripture in translation inevitably remains up to the present time laden with a variety of sublime truths which cannot be understood from any source other than the original language. Moreover, wherever there is diversity in the Latin manuscripts or the suspicion of a corrupted reading (we know how frequently this occurs because of the ignorance and negligence of copyists), it is necessary to go back to the original source of Scripture … to examine the authenticity of the books of the Old Testament in the light of the correctness of the Hebrew text and of the New Testament in the light of the Greek copies. And so that every student of Holy Scripture might have at hand the original texts themselves and be able to quench his thirst at the very fountainhead of the water that flows unto life everlasting and not have to content himself with rivulets alone, we ordered the original languages of Holy Scripture with their translations adjoined to be printed.”
It is a curiosity in the history of publishing that Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, which would later be called the Textus Receptus, was the first Greek New Testament to be published on a printing press (March 1, 1516), while the Complutensian Polyglot was the first to be printed. The Polyglot was finally published in 1522, eight years after the completion of the New Testament and five years after the completion of the whole Bible. Erasmus had gotten wind of the Polyglot and he rushed to get his out the door first. Because of his haste, his first edition has been called the most error-filled volume ever published!