Category Archives: School of Divinity

Al-Biruni live on LUNA


We are thrilled to announce that we now have online the entire manuscript of Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni, his ‘Chronology of Ancient Nations’. Al- Biruni was a famous astronomer and polymath and he completed this compendium in the year 1000. It records a vast number of calendars and chronological systems from a variety of different cultural and religious groups in the late antique and medieval periods in the Hellenic world, Central Asia and the Near East, even detailing festivals and liturgical practices.

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A Traquair Treat

0057151dAs there were several separate requests recently for images from the splendid ‘Song School St Mary’ manuscript by Phoebe Anna Traquair, we decided the time was right to digitise the book from cover to cover, replacing some fairly mixed quality old digital images and preparing it for the LUNA Book Reader . This item is one of my favourites (yes, I know I have many…), and it is a beautifully illuminated, vibrantly coloured, jewel-like treasure. Although made in 1897, Traquair created this on vellum, which adds to the impression of exquisite quality. Continue reading

The Most Beautiful Book in Scotland and the Oldest Scottish Manuscript?


The new Ms 39 Book of Hours available in LUNA Book Reader

We are delighted to announce that 2 manuscripts have been added to our growing collection of Book Readers in LUNA!

The first is Ms 39, an amazing early 15th century Book of Hours, with rich gold work, detailed miniatures and vibrant colours. See for the Book Reader. A note in the front of the book claims this is the most beautiful book in Scotland, what do you think? What are the other contender’s? Continue reading


I wanted to share some fantastic images that have come through the Digital Imaging Unit via general random digitization requests. This material is bound for individual researchers and would normally pass under the radar. We have enough amazing material passing through DIU to make this a monthly blog feature. First up is from “Zoology of Egypt, Reptilia and Batrachia” by John Anderson Shelfmark : L*.17.93. The whole book is packed with outstanding images and worthy of digitisation in its entirety.


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French Bible Historial Now Available in Book Reader


When we started at the DIU at the beginning 2004, a project to digitise a beautiful French Bible known to us as Ms 19 was already half completed, our first job was to finish it. Once this was done it was archived up to server space, and sadly, for many years, forgotten. Which is why I am delighted to announce that it is now available in Book Reader format here . Our volunteer Ellisa Manahova – Panagiotaki has been very busy preparing the images to go into the book reader- all 966 pages. Furthermore, volunteer Jessica Macaulay has been working on enhancing the metadata for us, which we hope to add in the coming months.

The Bible has some fantastic illuminations, including ones where God has, in an act of very polite censorship, been removed with gold paint. Enjoy!

Susan Pettigrew

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Damnation and Divinity

More Religious pamphlets for the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) came our way this week, mostly from New College Library. I always find the titles so fascinating, and some of them have lovely woodcut details too. The following are some of my favourites.

For more information about the ESTC see


Susan Pettigrew


Photographing The Apocalypse Circa 1483

Recently the Digital Imaging Unit were asked to photograph all 8 illustrations from the book of the Apocalypse in Anton Koberger’s German Bible of 1483.  Shelf-mark Inc.45.2.  I have selected a few details from the illustrations here to demonstrate the quality of the line and its powerful descriptive impact. ” Koberger was the godfather of Albrecht Dürer, whose family lived on the same street. In the year before Dürer’s birth in 1471.”   Giulia Bartrum, Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy, British Museum Press, 2002, pp 94-96, ISBN 0-7141-2633-0  

Malcolm Brown


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Last week I was sent a wonderful book, Deletrix – a collaboration between the artist Joan Fontcuberta, Catalan PEN and Arts Santa Mònica and it explores censorship and violence done to books. Thought provoking, and beautifully illustrated with images that have a strange haunting quality- indeed Fontcuberta challenges the audience as to whether the inherent beauty of the object can redeem the violence done to them. It has got me thinking about the items in our collections that have suffered changes at the hands of censors over the years.

Perhaps the one that immediately springs to mind is Micheal Servetus’ Christianismi Restitutio It is thought to be the copy Servetus sent to Calvin; incensed by Servetus’ theories, Calvin ripped out the first 16 pages before he set the wheels in motion to have Servetus burned at the stake using his own books for the fire! (See for more information).

However, there are many more censored images in the collection, often the result of religious belief & moral concerns. All the illustrations in the Genesis chapter of this French Bible appear to have God covered with Gold paint
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Further examples can be found below – perhaps an example of Victorian vandalism?
Or how about this one, where it looks as though the owners name and anathema has been deliberately erased

More information on Deletrix can be found at the links below

Many thanks to Ana González Tornero for the beautiful book, the links and information about the Deletrix Project.

Susan Pettigrew

Fire and Brimstone

This week we have been working on some Religious pamphlets for the English Short Title Catalogue. These have come from both the New College Library and here at the Centre for Research Collections, and some of them have the most delightful fire and brimstone titles.

For more information about the ESTC see

Susan Pettigrew

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11th Century Manuscript Digitisation Complete


Notices of David Laing, 1878, Stevenson, Thomas George. Etching of the collector David Laing reading from Ms 12.

Hello & welcome to our very first Post!

It seems appropriate to kick off this blog with the exciting news that we have just completed the digitisation of one of the Special Collections oldest manuscripts- Ms 12, an 11th Century manuscript of Four Gospels from Germany.

When Bibliotheca Laureshamensis got in touch to discuss the possibility of photographing all 510 pages of the manuscript our Rare Books Librarian was thrilled by the re-emergence of this wonderful document & a joint digitisation project was soon agreed.

We hope to have this available soon in a book reader format, but in the meantime you can get a flavour of it at,Work_Creator_Name,Work_Shelfmark

Laing 5

f.122r of Ms 12, Four Gospels, 11thC. German.