New College Library welcomes delegates to The Cultures of the Reformation: A Colloquium in Honour of Professor Jane Dawson on Thursday 1 June 2017. We have updated our current display of early psalm books and Scottish liturgy to include two new items.
At 4pm today, Tuesday 19 May, in the Assembly Hall, Prof Jane Dawson will address the General Assembly on the topic of John Knox, following publication of her recent biography. Prof. Dawson’s new book is on display in the Funk Reading Room and in the main display case we have early printed books from the time of John Knox selected by Prof. Dawson to illustrate key themes about his ministry and the development of the Scottish Reformed Kirk from 1560 onwards.
This sermon by Knox was preached on 19 August 1565, in St Giles’ Kirk where Knox was minister and is the only full text of one of Knox’s sermons to have come down to us. It was printed because Knox had been given a temporary preaching ban having offended King Henry [Lord Darnley and husband of Mary, Queen of Scots] by Knox’s pointed use of the Old Testament story of Ahab and Jezebel.The ‘Psalm Buik’. This metrical Psalter was used by the Reformed Kirk after the Scottish Protestant Reformation and this volume comes from the end of the sixteenth century because multiple editions were produced to satisfy demand. John Knox’s congregation in Geneva had started the project [1555-9] and it had been further developed in Scotland after 1560. Psalm singing played a central role in Reformed worship and in the lives of ordinary Scots, especially those who could not read but could sing and so remember the words of the psalms.
Knox’s ‘Answer’. This was Knox’s longest book and dealt with the doctrine of predestination. It was published in Geneva in 1560 after Knox had returned to Scotland. Following the lead of John Calvin on predestination, Knox refuted an anonymous author who had championed free will. As was common practice, Knox challenged each of his opponent’s arguments in turn – this makes the book long and not an easy read!
*With thanks to Prof Jane Dawson for this blog post text*
Christine Love-Rodgers – Academic Support Librarian – Divinity
Here at New College Library we’re rediscovering unique Special Collections items which tell the story of Scotland’s radical religious past.
This item, The Lord’s trumpet sounding an alarm against Scotland, and waining off a
bloody sword, reprints sermons originally preached in 1682 by Alexander Peden, one of the leading figures of the Covenanter movement in Scotland. Part of the New College Library Pamphlets Collection, it was identified when catalogued as unique on ESTC, or the English Short Title Catalogue, meaning that this imprint had never previously been identified.
The story of Scotland’s religious history is also evident in this eighteenth century pamphlet by Ralph Erskine, brother of Ebenezer Erskine, leader of the Secession Church which broke away from the Church of Scotland in the eighteenth century. Samuel VII and covenant theology. Faith’s Plea Upon God’s Word and Covenant is another example of a New College Library Pamphlet that has been identified as unique in the world.
Both these items were catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library, University of Edinburgh, where over 700 items unique on ESTC have been discovered.
Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity
Today, November 30, is Saint Andrew’s day, also celebrated as Scotland’s national day.
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (available online to University of Edinburgh users) notes that the cult of St Andrews was evident in England from Anglo-Saxon times, when the church in Rochester was the earliest of 637 medieval dedications to St Andrew. His legend grew to include the translation of his relics from Patras to Scotland by St Rule or Regulus in the 8th century. It is said that under angelic instruction, St Rule stopped at the place in Fife now known as St Andrews and built a church there, which became a centre for Christian evangelization and learning. St Andrew is commonly depicted with the saltire cross (X), which is used to represent Scotland on the Union Jack.
This image of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, comes from a seventeenth century English Bible which contains attractive illustrations of Bible scenes and pictures of the saints. It has bound with it metrical Psalms in the version of the Scottish Psalter, 1564. It is part of New College Library’s Early Bibles Collection, catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing projects.
The feast of St Cecilia’s Day is traditionally celebrated on November 22nd. A 3rd century martyr, St Cecilia is known as the patron saint of musicians. Her legend relates that, as a young Christian, she was betrothed to a pagan but she had already vowed her virginity to God. As the organs played at at her wedding feast, Cecilia sang (in her heart) to the Lord, asking that her heart remain pure.
Here’s a book of Psalms to remember her by. Thomas Moore’s Psalm singers’ pocket companion is a publication from the revival era known as Gallery Psalmody, where leading singers and choir were located in a loft of the church. The new style lasted for about a century from 1755, and its main features were choirs singing in harmony of usually three parts, with some solo sections. Thomas Moore (- d. 1792) was a music teacher from Manchester Cathedral who came to Glasgow to teach singing.
This item is small, or pocket sized, and contains a number of manuscript doodles which may testify to the singer’s mind wandering elsewhere. Also interesting are the pages of handwritten music staves, perhaps to allow the singer to make notes of new tunes or harmonies.
The Psalm singers’ pocket companion belongs to the Hymnology Collection, and was catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects. With thanks to our Project Cataloguer, Oreste de Tommaso, for supplying details of this item.