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Archive for September, 2012

Seventeenth century botanical illustrations discovered at New College Library

September 28, 2012 1 comment

Exoticarum aliarumque minus cognitarium plantarum centuria prima by Jakob Breyne, 1678. New College Library Special Collections DPL 59.

Recently catalogued online and now on display in New College Library’s entrance hall is this seventeeth century botanical work, Exoticarum aliarumque minus cognitarium plantarum centuria prima.

Written by Jakob Breyne, it has full page plates drawn by Andreas Stech and engraved by Isaac Saal.

This rare book is part of the Dumfries Presbytery Library, which is currently being catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.

With thanks to our rare books cataloguer Finlay West for sharing details of this item.

 

More images from this work …

To Africa with Love

Reports of the Glasgow African Missionary Society
New College Library Special Collections Z Collection Z.858/9-16

Today’s Centre for the Study of World Christianity Research Seminar is presented by Dr Jack Thompson, ‘African mission photography: Light on Darkness’.

This item, Reports of the Glasgow Missionary Society, from New College Library’s Z Collections, is a printed record of missionary activity, evidence of the hundreds of Missionary Scots at work across Africa.  I was charmed to find that among them was a Dr John Love (perhaps an ancestor of mine?) one time secretary of the Glasgow Missionary Society. The Church of Scotland’s first important missionary station in Africa, at Kaffaria (established in 1830), was named Lovedale after him.  New College Library also holds in its archives a volume of illustrations of Church of Scotland missions in South Africa (Gen. 827F), which features Lovedale. Further details can be searched online at www.mundus.ac.uk.

Israel, the Assyrians and a shoemaker’s gift

The sacred and profane history of the world connected : from the creation of the world to the dissolution of the Assyrian Empire …, and to the declension of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel …/ by Samuel Shuckford, D.D. Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, George the Second. ; Revised … by James Creighton. Philadelphia, 1824.
New College Library [Special Collections] Z.2152

At todays’ opening seminar in the Divinity Biblical Studies Research Seminar series, the speaker is Dr Carly Crouch, Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, University of Nottingham, on “Israel and the Assyrians”.

On that note, here’s an ambitious work of history from New College Library’s Special Collections that covers the Assyrian Empire and  “the declension of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel”. Written by Samuel Shuckford in the eighteenth century, this edition was published in the nineteenth century and is the first American edition of this work.

What interested me the most was in fact the label inside the book (well, I am a librarian), which states:

“Presented to the Free Church of Scotland, by Thomas Aikman, shoemaker, a native of Scotland, near Sterling [sic], a citizen of the United States of America since 1794 – a member of the Presbyterian Church in full communion for more than fifty years. Burlington, N.J., 1844.”

With this provenance, the book must have been donated to New College Library as part of the first appeal for books that came with the founding of New College as the College for the Free Church of Scotland after the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843.  It shows that Thomas Aikman, an emigrant of humble background, was following religious affairs in his homeland closely and that the principles behind the founding of New College were close enough to his heart for him to donate this book.

This book is part of the ‘Z’ Collection, currently being catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.

Another Book Sale success at New College Library, Edinburgh

New College Library held another successful Book Sale of duplicate volumes and unsuitable donations this Freshers week in the David Welsh Reading Room, New College Library. We’re pleased to be able to tell you that we raised over £1200! All proceeds will go to support New College Library funds. Previous book sales have supported new book purchasing, rare book conservation and archive listing projects.

The Book Sale would not be able to happen without the support of helpers from the New College postgraduate student community, who staffed the sale and helped with setting up and clearing away. A big thank you goes out to them!

Students and staff often ask what will happen to the unsold stock. This year some books will be going to the  Josophat Mwale Theological Institute (JMTI), in Zomba, Malawi, courtesy of Dr David Reimer. Other stock is being collected by St Columba’s Hospice Bookshop, Edinburgh.

Medieval Jewish Biblical Scholarship at New College Library

Perush ‘al Nevi’im ahronim = Commentarius celeberrimi Rabbi Ishak Abarbanel super Iesaiam, Ieremiam, Iehazkelem, et prophetas XII. minores (1642) New College Library Dal-Chr 36

This item from New College Library’s Special Collections is a biblical commentary on the Old Testament prophets by the Portuguese Jewish scholar Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508).   Abravanel was employed by King Alfonso V of Portugal as his Treasurer and his career encompassed statesmanship, philosophy and finance as well as biblical scholarship. In his commentaries he took time to include an introduction to each book, concerning its character and the intention of the original author. Much of his exegetical work was translated and distributed within the world of Christian scholarship, and this seventeenth century edition shows that Abravanel’s work was still in circulation nearly two hundred years after it was produced.

This book is part of the Dalman-Christie collection of Hebrew books, which was recently catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library –  thanks go to our Hebrew Cataloguer, Janice Gailani, for sharing details of this item.  The Dalman-Christie collection was transferred to New College Library in 1946 from the Church of Scotland Hospice in Jerusalem.

A Study in Syriac

Syriac has been taught at New College, Edinburgh, since its earliest days, as part of the family of ancient languages studied here. Today, for University of Edinburgh Students in years 3  and 4, Aramaic and related Semitic languages (post-Bibilical Hebrew, Syriac and Ugaritic) can be taken as options in Hebrew, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament honours programmes.

Schola Syriaca (1672). New College Library, Hebrew 14.

 This item, Schola Syriaca: unà cum synopsi Chaldaica et dissertatione de literis & lingua Samaritanorum (1672) looks back at the tradition of Syriac learning.

Held in New College Library’s Special Collections,  it is three books bound in one, covering Syriac grammar, syntax and comprehension passages. Despite the main language of the book being in Latin, the text reads from back to front as a book entirely in Syriac would.

One of many books presented to the library in 1924 by the widow of Rev. J.E.H. Thomson, this book belongs to the Hebrew Collection recently catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects. With thanks to our Hebrew Cataloguer, Janice Gailani, for sharing details of this item.

 

Historic record of Jewish festivals at New College Library

It’s September 16 and the beginning of Rosh Hashanah,  the Jewish New Year festival. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar, or ram’s horn trumpet, and eating apples dipped in honey – a symbol of the wish for a sweet new year.

New College Library holds an interesting volume of  prayers and devotions for Ashkenazi Jewish festivals,  Maḥzor ḥeleḳ rishon, published c. 1699  in Sulzbach  in the Rhineland where medieval Jewish communities settled. The book still has some of its original brass studs and brass clasps intact.

This book is part of the Dalman-Christie collection of Hebrew books, which was recently catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.  The Dalman-Christie Collection was transferred to New College Library in 1946 from the Church of Scotland Hospice in Jerusalem. With thanks to our Hebrew Cataloguer, Janice Gailani, for sharing details of this item.

Maḥzor ḥeleḳ rishon [1699] New College Library Dal-Chr 14