I’ve posted about the Vatican Library’s exciting digitization project (here), but I found more information from the Mormons involved.
I’m thrilled to be in the Vatican Library with Daniel Becerra and Luke Drake, two of the Maxwell Institute’s Nibley Fellows who are PhD students of ancient Christian and Mediterranean religion. We’re currently working to preserve some of the oldest Syriac manuscripts in existence as part of a joint BYU-Vatican Library project.
Of the ten thousand Syriac manuscripts that are thought to survive, just fifty-one are dated before 600 A.D., and we’re currently working with ten of them! (Here’s the complete list). Ten beautiful vellum manuscripts written in a script that’s as clear today as when it was written nearly 1500 years ago.
We’re also working with some completely unique manuscripts from the Vatican collections, such as Vatican Syriac 110, which contains the only copy of a fourth century commentary on Genesis and Exodus
Ever since I inherited a few old (not relatively speaking here, they were only like 100 years old) books from my father and grandfather, I’ve had a bug for old books. I remember facing my anxiety that I’d ruin the books and looking through them. I remember the sense of panic as the binding of one of the books cracked as I turned to different sections.
Whenever I hear someone is preserving old stuff electronically, and I’ll be able to flip through the pages online without damaging anything, I get a little excited. Even though I don’t speak the languages being handled in this link, I can still appreciate the artwork, penmanship, look of the pages. Maybe someday someone will translate them into English.
Anyway, this article had to do with both mormons and Catholics, working together in a scholarly pursuit, so I thought I’d share.