Steps Through Time at New College Library

Have you seen the new Steps Through Time display at New College Library? Today we’re celebrating the Steps Through Time project, which developed six display panels to be mounted alongside the steps up into New College Library. These panels highlight treasures from New College Library’s rare book and archive collections against a timeline of Scottish and religious history.

Student engagement event

This project kicked off with a student engagement event between Monday 23 to Wednesday 25 April. We held a daily display of New College Special Collections items featuring items from two different centuries each day, and encouraged students to take a few minutes break from their revision to vote on their favourite items from each century. Over the three days we had nearly 120 visitors to our displays, many of whom commented that they had no idea that New College Library held Special Collections items like these. I’m grateful to my two volunteers, Nastassja Alfonso and Jessica Wilkinson, for helping with these events and persuading revising students that they really did want to look at some Special Collections. The item that gathered the most votes was the 1638 National Covenant (bequeathed by Thomas Guthrie), which is one of five National Covenants in the New College Library collections. The National Covenants have recently returned to New College Library after benefiting from conservation work and digital photography at the CRC.

Image selection and text writing

A key task was the selection of the images, which we did with the data gathered from students votes, but also by consulting with student representatives from the School of Divinity. A clear message about representing diversity in our text and image choices was received from the student community and so we aimed to curate diversity into the timeline narrative. Student engagement transformed the project into more than developing some display panels of library treasures. If we had planned just to do that, the panels would have included images of incunabula, Bibles or Luther pamphlets, some of New College’s collection strengths. But that was not the story that the student community wanted to tell.

Impact

We hope the project will improve an area of the library entrance which is used by all visitors to the library, and that it will raise the profile of New College Library’s unique Special Collections. We will be gathering feedback both over the summer and in the first few weeks of semester to better understand the impact of the Steps Through Time display.

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian, Divinity

Celebrating women pioneers for ordained ministry in the Church of Scotland

Dr Elizabeth Hewat, first woman to receive a PhD from New College, who argued for women’s ordination

This blog post is written by Dr Lesley Orr, School of Divinity

In the year in which the Church of Scotland has welcomed the Very Revd Susan Brown of Dornoch Cathedral as its new Moderator of the General Assembly, the Church also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women.

On Wednesday 22 May 1968, the Fathers and Brethren of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted by a  large majority to extend eligibility of ordination to Ministry of Word and Sacrament to women, on the same terms as men. New College students, graduates and staff played a significant role throughout the half century when the question of women’s role, rights and equality in the Church was one of the most persistent and controversial issues for debate – not only in the Assembly but in wider Church and Scottish society. During this fiftieth anniversary year of women in ordained ministry, a commemorative project has been based at New College, supported by the Centre for Theology and Public Issues and in partnership with the Church of Scotland Ministries Council. Publications and photographs which tell a little of these events are currently on display in New College Library. But the story goes back much further.

Continue reading

Digital Resource trials for Biblical Studies and Jewish Studies May 2018

We have four new digital resource trials for Biblical Studies this month. They’re all accessible from the E-resource trials web page.

Brill’s Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Non-Biblical Texts offers a unique opportunity to study state of the art photographs of these ancient scripts, and understand their meaning using the translations of text and interpretations for missing fragments

 

Flavius Josephus Online is the first comprehensive literary-historical online commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English including the Greek text by Niese from the late 19th century. About 65% of the project is complete, consisting of Life, and Against Apion, book 2 of the Judean War, and books 1-11 and 15 of the Judean Antiquities.

The Littman E-Library of Jewish Civilisation has over 30,000 pages of leading research in Jewish studies from Arthur Szyk: Artist, Jew, Pole to The Zohar: Reception and Impact.  The LEJC includes international perspectives on Jewish civilization from scholars across the world, including the USA, Israel, Germany, Poland, and the UK.

 

The Textual History of the Bible Online (THBO) is unique in providing, for the first time, a cross-searchable platform with all available information regarding the textual history, textual character, translation techniques, manuscripts, and the importance of each textual witness for each book of the Hebrew Bible, including its deutero-canonical scriptures. In addition, it includes articles on the history of research, the editorial histories of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other aspects of text-critical research and its auxiliary fields, such as papyrology, codicology, and linguistics.

You can access the trials at: https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/finding-resources/library-databases/e-resources-trials  (Scroll down the page a little to find the links).

Please let us know what you think! Feedback and usage data from trials like these supports our case to purchase them when funds are available.

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity

New College Library Steps Through Time – 23-25 April

Steps Though Time is a project to create a timeline of six display panels to be mounted up the steps into New College Library. This will tell the unique story of New College Library through images of six treasures selected from the library’s rare book, archive and object collections. These images will be set against a timeline of Scottish religious history with an Edinburgh focus.

Students, we want you to help choose the images for the panels! We will be displaying a selection of library treasures over three days in the Funk Reading Room for you to choose from. Continue reading

The woman behind the windows at New College Library

Visitors to New College Library can’t fail to be impressed by the beautiful stained glass windows which surround the Library Hall. These windows were the gift of Miss Grace Warrack, who worked with the prominent stained glass artist Douglas Strachan to design the windows over a twenty year period. Continue reading

Women and religion books for International Women’s Day 2018

Here’s a selection of new books at New College Library to celebrate International Women’s Day!

The grace of Sophia : a Korean North American women's Christology by Grace Ji-Sun Kim . New College Library BS580.W58 Kim.

The Grace of Sophia :a Korean North American women’s Christology, by Grace Ji-Sun Kim, was recommended by a Divinity student and is now available at New College Library at  BS580.W58 Kim.

Students can recommend books for the library using the online form at www.ed.ac.uk/is/rab

 

 

 

New out on the shelves at New College Library are:

 

Recognizing other subjects : feminist pastoral theology and the challenge of identity, by Katharine E. Lassiter, 2016. BT83.55 Las.

A history of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians (1989-2007), Rachel Nyagondwe Fiedler, 2017, BR1430 Fie.

Women’s voices and the practice of preaching by Nancy Lammers Gross, 2017 BV4211.3 Gro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newly available as ebooks are :

American Catholic Women Religious Radicalized by Mission by Donna Maria Moses, 2017

Women, Religion, and the Gift : An Abundance of Riches, ed. Morny Joy 2017

Women’s Authority and Leadership in a Hindu Goddess Tradition by Nanette R. Spina, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New College Library has a regular display of new books at the far end of the Library Hall, close to the door to the stacks. Details of all new books are available via DiscoverEd.

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity

The Myth of Robert Burns

It was some months ago that among the many sermons and talks given by Rev Tom Allan (1916-1965), one entitled ‘The Myth of Robert Burns’ caught my eye (ref. AA6.2.18). While the Kirk and Burns were not exactly best pals, there has been many an Ayrshire minister who would definitely subscribe to the term ‘Burnsian’. The question was, with a title such as this, on which side was the Ayrshire born Tom Allan going to stand?

The talk (definitely not a sermon) opens by observing that the 25th of January, Burns Night, is also ‘the day set aside in the remembrance of St Paul.’ As Allan writes,

“Indeed, if we were to pursue the speculation on these two notable anniversaries, it would not be difficult to argue that there is much in the character of the Scottish people which has emerged through the conflict of the genius which inspired Paul of Tarsus with the genius which inspired Robert Burns. And it is certain that the life of the Poet himself can only be understood in the light of that conflict.”

He goes on to state,

“It is doubtful if there has been any character in Scottish History – or in any other history for that matter – about whom men have so willingly suspended their critical faculties. For a great multitude of otherwise rational people, the cult of Robert Burns is taken as seriously as it is possible for a cult to be taken. He has become a mythical figure in the manner of the ancient gods, and tonight, all over the world, men and women are meeting in their yearly pilgrimage to the holy place.”

First page of Rev Tom Allan's talk 'The Myth of Robert Burns' (ref. AA6/2/18).

First page of Rev Tom Allan’s talk ‘The Myth of Robert Burns’ (ref. AA6/2/18).

Allan certainly seems to be taking the Kirk’s tone something which is underlined in his comments on ‘two old and dusty volumes in the Library of the University’ he consulted while preparing his talk. He goes on to state that the myth he intends to examine is that of ‘Burns the Saint’ and ‘Burns the Poet’ because

“I sincerely believe that we are doing Burns an injustice which he himself would probably have treated as a colossal joke unless we try to see this man as he really was, and try to estimate his poetry as it really is.”

As far as ‘Burns the Saint’ goes, the talk deals with the reality of his morality, the manner in which ‘the popular Burns orator… attempts to clothe this very human man in the robes of sainthood’, and the excuses others make for his behaviour: whether it is to blame him as a child of his time, society or indeed the Church for it. He concludes,

“There is little of nobility in the life of Robert Burns: there is much that is tragic. It is not ours to judge him. Neither is it ours to worship him for qualities he never possessed.”

When he turns to examine the myth of ‘Burns the Poet’, Tom Allan observes that Burns’ writing is at its best when in his native Ayrshire dialect. Interestingly, he questions how many people could truly say that they understood every word of even the best-loved poems such as ‘Tam o’ Shanter’. He takes a swipe at some other poems such as the ‘Ode to General Washington’s Birthday’ for being ‘woefully artificial’ and ‘bombastic, insincere and trivial.’ However, it is when Allan draws to the conclusion of his talk that his genial side, for which he was renowned, makes itself known. He states that it is Burns’ satiric verse, his narrative poems and songs which are the best of his compositions, the last of these being described as ‘incomparable’.

“Here in the Songs I could almost submit myself to the myth of Robert Burns. Here at last is sincerity and tenderness and a great compassion and a bewitching sadness and an irresistible appeal.”

He might have been a man of the Kirk but this is certainly not the conclusion of a man agin the National Bard.

The papers of Rev Tom Allan (ref. AA6) are available for consultation in New College Library and the catalogue for the collection can be found here: http://archives.collections.ed.ac.uk/repositories/5/resources/86134

Kirsty M. Stewart, New College Collections Curator

Images of The Myth of Robert Burns by Rev Tom Allan (ref. AA6/2/18) [PDF – 1.3MB]

New extended opening hours for New College Library in 2018

Students told us that they were finding it hard to access course readings held at New College Library because the library opening hours were more limited than other University Library sites. Information Services and the School of Divinity have worked to secure pilot funding to extend New College Library opening hours.

Starting on Sunday 21 January, New College Library will be open 12-5pm on Sundays.

Starting on Monday 9 April, for seven weeks New College Library will be open in the evenings until 10pm, Monday-Thursday.

Our Library Services

During evening and weekend hours there will be full access to the Library Hall and Reserve Section, as well as the David Welsh Reading Room. Access to Special Collections will remain as it is currently, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Please tell us what you think!

To maintain these hours we will need to make a case for the funding to be continued. If you want these extended opening hours to continue:

  • Please use the library during these hours
  • Please give us your feedback in surveys, feedback forms (available in the library) or to library staff.

Christine Love-Rodgers

Academic Support Librarian – Divinity

Explore Your Archive 2017

The Explore Your Archive Campaign is run in conjunction with the Archives and Records Association, the professional body for archivists in the UK and Ireland. The University of Edinburgh is joining in this campaign, running from 18 to 25 November, led by colleagues in the Centre for Research Collections. Throughout social media you will see archivists promoting their archives, whether they are interesting, intriguing, puzzling or pleasing, using the hashtag #exploreyourarchive.

Here at New College Library we have made a significant step to help you explore your archive. For the first time, the catalogues which have previously only been available in the Library itself are now available online. There are over 530 catalogue entries for New College archives now freely searchable on archives.collections.ed.ac.uk . You can browse the whole collection, or search by person, organisation, place (in some instances), and limit searches by date.

The process of creating the online catalogue has revealed the strengths of the collection and the breadth of topics covered. Far from being simply a treasure trove of Scottish church history material, the collections include:

In addition, digital images of some of the archives and special collections, including our copies of the National Covenants can be found on https://images.is.ed.ac.uk – click on the New College icon.

Should you wish to consult any material you find through the online catalogue you are welcome to visit New College Library or contact new.college.library@ed.ac.uk. All archives and manuscripts are consulted in the Funk Reading Room at New College Library.

The first of the daily hashtags for Explore Your Archive week is #archivecatwalk. The annual class and graduation photographs taken in New College, the earliest of which is from 1857 (ref. AA1.8.2), provide a fascinating timeline of fashions. The students below would look quite at home in today’s hipster cafes, especially those with the extra cachet of having a cane.

Class Photograph, 1860 (ref. AA1.8.2)

Staff and students at New College, Edinburgh, 1860 (ref. AA1.8.2)

Keep an eye on our tweets and those of our colleagues @EdUniLibraries, @CRC_EdUni, @EU_SSSA, and www.facebook.com/crc.edinburgh/ for further archives exploration.

Kirsty M Stewart, New College Collections Curator