Looking at the Acta Sanctorum – Life of St Cuthbert

Acta Sanctorum Martii, vol. iii, (Antwerp, 1668), pp. 117

Acta Sanctorum Martii, vol. iii, (Antwerp, 1668), pp. 117

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.

Digital Library of Latin Texts is now available

LLTLibrary of Latin Texts - Series BLibrary of Latin Texts (LLT) Series A & B  is now available  to University of Edinburgh Users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN – find LLT on the A-Z Databases list or the Divinity subject list.

The Library of Latin Texts – Series A (formerly known as the Cetedoc Library of Christian Latin Texts) contains texts taken from the Corpus Christianorum series. These include the Vulgate and the Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, the complete corpus of decrees from the ecumenical Church councils from Nicaea to Vatican II and many Latin versions (ancient, medieval or modern) of works by Aristotle, Averroes, Avicenna, Dionysius the Areopagite, Flavius Josephus, Irenaeus of Lyon, Maximus the Confessor, Origen, Plato and Porphyrus. Each text draws on additional intensive research work undertaken by the Centre ‘Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’. The complementary Library of Latin Texts – Series B database gathers other Latin texts of all genres and all periods including chronicles, medieval saints’ lives and travel narratives, legal texts, and theological, philosophical and scientific treatises from the early modern period, drawn from existing scholarly editions.

Early printed works of St Anselm on display at New College Library

Inc 27New on display in the Funk Reading Room is the Works of St Anselm,  Opuscula beati Anselmi archiepiscopi Ca[n]tuarie[n]sis ordinis Sancti Benedicti, printed in 1497.

April 21 is the Feast Day of St Anselm (1033-1109). A Benedictine monk who lived during the reigns of William the Conqueror and William Rufus, he became the abbot of the monastery at Bec in  Normandy, France. Named as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093  by William Rufus, under the rule of Henry I Anselm faced the challenges of preserving the secular and spiritual rights of the Church in the face of the authority of the King. Despite these political difficulties, Anselm held two great ecclesiastical councils at Lambeth and York  where many decrees for church reform were made.

Anselm’s prayers and meditations (accessible online to University of Edinburgh users in the Patrologia Latina)  had a lasting influence through the middle ages, but his writings also made a significant contribution to theological debate into the twentieth century and beyond.

New College Library holds two copies of Anselm’s works in the Incunabula Collection, which was recently catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects.

Sources

D.H. Farmer, ‘Anselm (1033-1109)’, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Oxford University Press, 2011; online edn 2012 [http://www.oxfordreference.com, accessed 17 April 2013]

Papal Letters Online on trial now

Papal Letters Online

Papal Letters Online (Ut per litteras apostolicas…) is now available on trial access to University of Edinburgh Users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN. The trial will run from Monday 25th February to 26th March. See the eresources trials web page for more information.

Papal Letters Online is an electronic version of the celebrated Registres et lettres des Papes du XIIIe siècle (32 vols.: Rome, 1883- ) and the Registres et lettres des Papes du XIVe siècle (48 vols.: Rome, 1899- ).  It contains further unpublished material from the litterae communes of Gregory XI from 1371 to 1375 and the registers of petitions of Urban V.

Oxford Scholarship Online Classical Studies titles on trial now

Disciplining Christians: Correction and Community in Augustine’s LettersJennifer V. Ebbeler

Disciplining Christians: Correction and Community in Augustine’s Letters
Jennifer V. Ebbeler, 2012

Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient WorldBeate Dignas and R. R. R. Smith

Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World
Beate Dignas and R. R. R. Smith, 2012.

Oxford Scholarship Online Classical Studies titles  published in 2012, and any published so far in 2013 are now available on trial access to University of Edinburgh Users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN. The trial ends on 12 March. See the eresources trials web page for more information.

Library of Latin Texts on trial now

LLTLibrary of Latin Texts (LLT)  is now available on trial access to University of Edinburgh Users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN. The trial ends on 15 February. See the eresources trials web page for more information.

LLT contains texts from the beginning of Latin literature (Livius Andronicus, 240 BC) through to the texts of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).The complete works of writers such as  Augustine, Jerome, Gregory the Great, Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Kempis can be consulted. The texts have been taken from the Corpus Christianorum series and from other leading editions.

Works of King James I & VI now on display at New College Library

Works of King James I & VI

Serenissimi et potentissimi Principis Iacobi, Dei gratia, Magnae Britanniae, Franciae, et Hiberniae Regis, fidei defensoris, opera …
New College Library DPL.25

New on display in the entrance to New College Library is the Works of King James I of England and VI of Scotland edited by  James Montagu, Bishop of Winchester, and Dean of the Royal Chapel.

With an engraved portrait  of Prince Charles (later King Charles I), and later the Royal Coat of Arms this contains James’  paraphrase of the apocalyptic books of the Bible, as well as works on royalty and church and state. It was published in 1619, in James’s lifetime.

The volume has a vellum binding covered in a stamped gilded decoration of scattered flowers around a central image of a wild boar.

Part of the Dumfries Presbytery Library, the volume is inscribed Ex Libris Johannes Hutton.  Dr John Hutton, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, became the first Treasurer of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1681–82), and Court Physician to King William III and Queen Mary (1688–1702).
Later he was also MP for Dumfries Burghs (1710–12) and when he died in London, in November 1712, he gave as a bequest his library of 1,500 volumes to the Presbytery of Dumfries. Much of this is preserved as the  Dumfries Presbytery Library, now kept in New College Library.

This item was recently catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects.

From Greek to Gaelic

Just over 400 items which together form the Gaelic Collections at New College Library have now been catalogued online and their details can now be browsed online using the shelfmark “Gaelic Coll.”  This collection of monographs and pamphlets was put together from various sources, including thirty nine books from the bequest of the Rev. Roderick Macleod.

A contender for the oddest item in New College Library’s Gaelic Collections are a series of works by Thomas Stratton trying to prove the Celtic source of Latin and Greek, including “Proofs of the Celtic origin of a great part of the Greek language”. 1840 ; Gaelic Coll 213 and  “Illustrations of the affinity of the Latin language to the Gaelic or Celtic of Scotland”. 1840 Gaelic Coll 213. This copy has a handwritten inscription identifying it as previously belonging to the Library of the Church of Scotland.

With thanks to Patrick Murray, our Gaelic Cataloguer, for supplying details of this item.

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.