Ancient Bible manuscripts go online

thisisoxfordshire: Manuscripts such as the one being viewed by Richard Ovenden, The Laudian Acts, are among those being shared Buy this photo » Manuscripts such as the one being viewed by Richard Ovenden, The Laudian Acts, are among those being shared

OXFORD’S Bodleian Library has teamed up with the Vatican to make available some of the world’s most unique and important Biblical texts.

The Bodleian Libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana have teamed up to digitise parts of their collection as part of a four-year collaboration.

Portions of the Bodleian and Vatican Libraries’ collections of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and early printed books have been selected for digitisation by a team of scholars and curators from around the world.

Bodleian interim librarian Richard Ovenden said: “It is very exciting to see the first fruits of this landmark collaboration between the Bodleian and the Vatican Library.

“We hope that through digitising and making openly accessible some of the most significant books in our collections we will increase their potential for research and broader understanding of these ancient texts.”

A newly launched website features zoomable images which allow detailed scholarly analysis and study.

It also includes essays and a number of video presentations made by scholars and supporters of the digitisation project, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Monsignor Cesare Pasini, the Prefect of the Vatican Library, said: “I am very pleased with the website that is launched together by the two institutions.

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“I envision how useful it will be to scholars and to many other interested people. I see the common fruit of our labour as a very positive sign of collaboration and sharing.

“That is a trademark of the world of culture.”

Conservation staff at the Bodleian and Vatican Libraries have been working with curators to assess not only the significance of the content, but the physical condition of the items.

It is estimated that the project, which has been supported by the Polonsky Foundation, will make 1.5 million digitised pages available over the next three years.

To view the website visit bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk

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