After over 150 posts the New College Librarian blog has moved to a new home this month. It becomes part of the University of Edinburgh Library & Collections family of blogs at http://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/newcollegelibrarian/. Please follow us there!
Currently on display in the entrance to New College Library is a first edition (1611) of the the Authorised version or King James’ version of the Bible. In this edition, some copies are identified as “He” Bibles and some as “She” Bibles because a typographical discrepancy in Ruth 3:15 rendered a pronoun “He” instead of “She” in that verse in some printings. These huge folio Bibles were designed to be read aloud in the pulpit, and a copy was originally chained to every church pulpit in England.
Five years in to the Funk Cataloguing Projects here at New College Library, early Pamphlets are continuing to be catalogued. We’re still finding unique items which are being sent for digital photography over at the University of Edinburgh Main Library. Great blog post on these by Susan Petigrew in the Digital Imaging Unit – see http://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/diu/2013/09/25/fire-and-brimstone/
New in this month are a number of new volumes in the Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea scrolls project : The Dead Sea scrolls : Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts with English translations at sEY 51 CHA. These volumes were purchased with additional funding from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Also new is Crown of Aleppo : the mystery of the oldest Hebrew Bible codex, by Hawal Tayim, at BS715.5.A43 Taw..
This title was purchased for Biblical Studies at the School of Divinity, Edinburgh University.
You can see an regularly updated list of new books for New College Library on the Library Catalogue – choose the New Books Search and limit your search to New College Library. Here’s a quick link to new books arriving in the last few weeks. A word of caution – some of the books listed here may still be in transit between the Main Library (where they are catalogued) and New College Library, so not on the shelf just yet.
We welcomed University of Edinburgh MSc Medieval History students today for a tour of New College Library and the chance to see one of the texts they were studying, the Life of St Cuthbert, in New College Library’s first edition of the Acta Sanctorum, which was on display in the Funk Reading Room. Published in the seventeenth century, the Acta Sanctorum, which contains the first printed edition of this work, is a huge Latin work in sixty-eight volumes examines the lives of saints, organised according to each saint’s feast day in the calendar year. This image shows the large folio volume, still in its original leather binding with metal clasps, open at the Life of St Cuthbert. The Acta Sanctorum is also available online to University of Edinburgh users.
New College Library’s Torah Scroll (Pentateuch) was on display to visitors today in the Funk Reading Room.
Scrolls such as these are an integral part of Jewish communal life, being read in their entirety in a yearly cycle. The portions of the masoretic texts are divided into weekly portions and their reading in communal worship is followed by a set reading from the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible.
This scroll is no longer suitable for ritual use, as it is no longer bound onto its original etzim (rollers) or clothed in its original protective and decorative garments. Some letters are damaged, indicating its non-kosher status. Conservation work was undertaken in 2008 to ensure that the scroll was preserved in an appropriate state for study and teaching, and it received new rollers and new box. The funds for this work were raised by the New College Library Book Sale.
The provenance of the scroll is not known, but it may have come to the Library at the same time as other objects from Jewish religious practice in the New College Library objects collection. These include a phylatctory or tefillin, a small, black leather cube-shaped case made to contain Torah texts.
Today Professor Susan Hardman Moore, Professor of Early Modern Religion, will deliver her inaugural lecture entitled ‘Time’ at 2pm. Professor Hardman-Moore’s lecture features a number of seventeenth century rare books from the New College Library collections, which will be on display in the Funk Reading Room after the lecture between 3-4.30pm.
The titles include John Wade’s The Redemption of Time (1692) and the The Practice of Piety (1672) by Lewis Bayly. The Practice of Piety is part of the recently catalogued Dumfries Presbytery Library, and is inscribed Ex Libris Johannes Hutton, identifying it as part of the original bequest of 1500 volumes from Dr John Hutton.