This just in: A Bible from the late Middle Ages

As our days under lockdown turn to weeks and now months, it’s getting harder to remember a time when going to the library and physically touching books was a possibility, and the tactile experience of holding a material piece of the past seems to vanish into the pre-COVID mists. However, as a reminder of more innocent bygone days and in anticipation of our brave new future, let us take a brief look back to one of Special Collections’ last classes of the spring semester and the introduction of a recent donation.

Before the new acquisition was unveiled, Professor Storin’s class on the New Testament browsed some of Special Collections’ other notable Bibles and Gospels in Hill Memorial Library’s McIlhenny Room.

On the morning following LSU Football’s National Championship, long-time supporter of the Libraries Tom Taylor contacted us and offered LSU yet another reason for celebration: a generous donation of books selected from his lavish collection. Leaping at the gracious and timely offer, we began making room in the stacks for the new arrivals and contacting interested professors to invite them to be a part of some of the books’ unboxing. Just before the Libraries were shuttered for the semester the first donation made its debut in religion professor Bradley Storin’s class on the New Testament.

This book is one of the most impressive of Taylor’s donation: a copy of the Bible in Latin printed in Lyons, France in 1482, less than thirty years after the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. This edition was printed by the partnership of Marcus Reinhart and Nicolaus Philippi and is only the third Bible printed in France. (The first such Bible was issued in Paris in 1477, followed by a publication in Lyons in 1479.) Remarkably, only three other complete copies of this edition are known to survive, two held in libraries in the United States and one in England.

Curator of books John Miles offers Professor Storin’s students their first sight of the Bible that spent over five centuries making its way into Hill Memorial Library’s stacks.

The Bible’s text is that of the Swiss scholar Johann Amerbach’s revision of the Latin Vulgate, for which Amerbach compared the Vulgate to early Greek manuscripts, an example of the rigorous humanistic scholarship on the rise in the fifteenth century. The pages are adorned with hand-illustrated initial letters in blue and red. This technique, known as rubrication, was a holdover from hand-written manuscript books; the practice continued in a limited manner into the sixteenth century. In this way each copy of the book is unique, despite their printed text being the same.

Alas, detailed photos of our copy of this book will have to wait until after campus reopens, but this leaf from Grand Valley State University’s Seidman Rare Book Collection gives a sense of the book’s evenly spaced two-column layout; Ohio University’s Special Collections also has an example. (In both cases these are single leaves — two pages — which have been preserved, and not the entire book.)

Prior to Taylor’s donation, Special Collections’ oldest Bible was our copy of the Douai-Rheims bible, published by English Catholics in France in 1582 (the New Testament) and 1609-10 (the Old Testament). When this new addition has been fully catalogued and finds its home on our shelves it will extend our holdings of Bibles back one hundred years and into the early days of printing, known today as the incunable period. This Bible’s printed text and its hand-decorated initial letters form a bridge between early manuscript bibles, of which we hold many fine facsimile reproductions, and later printed works, represented by the Douai-Rheims Bible and our copy of the 1612/13 edition of the King James Bible.

An image of one leaf of the Biblia latina, featuring the end of the book of Joshua and the beginning of Judges. We didn’t have time to take good photographs of our copy before campus was closed, to this look is courtesy of Grand Valley State University’s Seidman Rare Book Collection.

We will have this exciting new acquisition fully cataloged and available for viewing in our reading room… as soon as possible? Really, we couldn’t be more anxious to get back to doing the work of making these kinds of objects available to the public and we will get back to doing so just as soon as it’s safe to return to the library. Once we do, and as soon as we all collectively shake off our quarantine cobwebs, an afternoon spent in our reading room paging through this impressive feat of early European printing might be just what eyes strained by too much screen-time need. More than just a physical comfort, some quality time with this particular book might also offer a spiritual salve, as it has been through many previous pandemics — from the Bubonic Plague to Yellow Fever to the Spanish Flu — and still stands as testament to humanity’s dogged endurance and passionate search for knowledge. It is a lot for a single tome to shoulder, but the heft and craft of this Bible published ten years before Columbus sailed west from Spain is ready to bear just such a burden.

Our thanks to Professor Storin and the students of his Religion 1005 class for helping us welcome this book into Special Collections, as well as kindest regards to Tom Taylor for his donation and his continued support of the mission of the Libraries and the betterment of the University community.

Once the book is fully cataloged and properly preserved all are welcome to visit Special Collections to see and read what is now LSU’s oldest Bible.

Curator of books and head of instruction in Special Collections.

Posted in Announcements, Special Collections

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

RISE TO THE CHALLENGE, TIGERS! We know you will! Every gift made to the LSU Library Excellence Fund on Giving Day 2021 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000 by Phil H. Kitchens (Human Sciences and Education, ’76). Multiply your impact now at rb.gy/zgawjn. #LSUGivingDay

On Display

“Louisiana’s Natural Treasure:
Margaret Stones, Botanical Artist”
Main Gallery
Re-opens October 1st
On display through December 4, 2020

Richard W. Leche Papers– Reading Room

Online exhibitions

In the News

Louisiana’s Natural Treasure: Margaret Stones, Botanical Artist
“Perspectives: Spiny Thistle – Friends of the groundbreaking botanical artist Margaret Stones reflect on her contributions to native flora in Louisiana” Country Roads Magazine

Exploding the Codex &
The Hidden Treasures and Historical Importance of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris
“Exhibitions showing at Hill Memorial Library, admission free to students” TigerTV

Who’s Your Holmes?
“On exhibit: Who’s Your Holmes? at LSU’s Hill Memorial Library” inRegister

Seeing and the “Eye of the Imagination”
“Take a peek into the unknown through Clarence John Laughlin’s ‘eye of the imagination’ at Hill Memorial Library” The Advocate

Seeing and the “Eye of the Imagination”
“Book collection marks historic importance of fantasy, horror genres” The Daily Reveille

Made in New Orleans
“Hill Memorial Library showcases ‘Made in New Orleans: The Past in Print’,” The Daily Reveille

Made in New Orleans
On exhibit: ‘Made in New Orleans’ at LSU Hill Memorial Library, March 19-June 8,” inRegister

Letterform Characters
“Hill Memorial Library exhibit explores history of typeface,”  The Daily Reveille

Through the Valley of Death
“Hill Memorial Library debuts WWI exhibit,” The Daily Reveille

Investigating Sherlock
“LSU’s Hill Memorial hosts Sherlock Holmes exhibit,” The Daily Reveille

Jazz Fest 101: A Showcase of Student Oral History Research
“Hill Memorial Library displays ‘Jazz Fest 101,’ explores festival’s past,” The Daily Reveille

A Voyage to the Floating World: Japanese Illustrated Books and East-West Cultural Exchange in the Nineteenth Century
“On Exhibit: A Voyage to the Floating World,” inRegister

Advancing Scholarship & Learning for 80 Years: LSU Press and The Southern Review
“Hill Memorial Library Displays History of LSU Press, Southern Review,” The Daily Reveille

A la Militaire” – The Battle of New Orleans
“Hill Memorial opens ‘A la Militaire,'” The Daily Reveille

Cooperative Extension at LSU
“AgCenter: Louisiana resource for 100 years,”
The Advertiser


I Remember: An Art Show of Environmental Significance
“Time for oil and gas industry to come to the table on coastal restoration,” BR Business Report

The Relentless Pursuit of “Equal”
“Integration Exhibit Opens,” LSU Daily Reveille

Centuries of Style
“Style Stories,” The Advocate

“Clothing as Social History,” nola.com

Of Kin & Cane
LSU Daily Reveille

Blacks in the Red Stick
LSU Daily Reveille

Louisiana for Bibliophiles
The Advocate

Change(less): Photography and the Ephemeral Made Permanent
DIG Magazine

Recent faculty publications

2021

O’Neill, Brittany. “Do They Know It When They See It?: Natural Language Preferences of Undergraduate Students for Library Resources,” College & Undergraduate Libraries. Volume 28, Issue 2 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1080/10691316.2021.1920535

O’Neill, Brittany and Rebecca Kelley. “Delivering Bad News: Crisis Communication Methods in Academic Libraries,” College & Research Libraries, Volume 82, Issue 3 (May 2021). https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.82.3.310

Connel, Ruth Sara; Lisa C. Wallis; David Comeaux. “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Use of Academic Library Resources,” Information Technology and Libraries. Volume 40, Issue 2 (2021). https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v40i2.12629

O’Neill, B. (2021).”Three-layer primary source dip: Introducing history students to primary source research through active learning.” In The teaching with primary sources cookbook, edited by J. M. Porterfield, 16-18. Association of College & Research Libraries, 2021.

2020 

Blessinger, Kelly and Dave Comeaux. “User Experience with a New Public Interface for an Integrated Library System,” Information Technology in Libraries. Volume 39, Issue 1. https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v39i1.11607

Cramer, Jennifer A. “First, Do No Harm”: Tread Carefully Where Oral History, Trauma, and Current Crises Intersect,” The Oral History Review, 47:2 (2020): 203-213, DOI: 10.1080/00940798.2020.1793679

Diamond, Tom, ed. The Academic Librarian in the Digital Age: Essays on Changing Roles and Responsibilities. McFarland, 2020.

Kelley, Rebecca and Mitch Fontenot. “Serving our Student Veterans in Louisiana,” Louisiana Libraries. Volume 82, Issue 2 (Spring 2020).

Kuyper-Rushing, Lois.A Thematic Index of Works by Eugene Bozza, A-R Editions, 2020.

Lounsberry, Megan. “Troubleshooting electronic resources from an ILL perspective,” Technical Services Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 3.
https://doi.org/10.1080/07317131.2020.1768699

McDonald, Ebony. “2020 Regina Medal Recipient Christopher Paul Curtis,” Catholic Library World. 

Miles, John David.  “James Harrison and the Tensas Troubles of 1878,” Civil War Book Review: Volume 22, Issue 1 (Winter 2020).

Morgan, Randa Lopez. 2020. “Supporting Student Wellness and Success through the LSU Libraries Relaxation Room.Journal of Library Outreach and Engagement v. 1, no. 1: 104–115.

2019

Batte, Elizabeth; David Dunaway; Emily Frank; Sarah Mazur; and Laurie Phillips. “LOUIS Membership with Open Textbook Network Brings Incentive for Faculty OER Advocacy on Campuses,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Borchardt, Rachel; Polly Boruff-Jones; Sigrid Kelsey; and Jennifer Matthews, “A Proposed Framework for the Evaluation of Academic Librarian Scholarship” (2019). Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference.

Comeaux, Dave;  Emily Frank; and Mike Waugh. “Supporting Student Success: E-books as Course Materials,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Dunaway, David. “Bibliometrics for Faculty Evaluation: A Stastical Comparison of h-indexes Generated Using Google Scholar and Web of Science Data,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Haber, Natalie, Melissa Cornwell, & Andrea Hebert. “This worksheet works: Making the DLS Standards work for you,” College & Research Libraries News. 

Hawk, Amanda K. “Implementing Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries,” Proceedings of the 2018 Library Assessment Conference, (Association of Research Libraries, 2019): 836-843. https://doi.org/10.29242/lac.2018.78

Hebert, Andrea and Jodi Duet. “’I’m Really Confident I Can Find the Exact IKEA Pillow’: A Qualitative Look at the Search Self-Efficacy of Graduating MLIS Students,” Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639269.2017.1690891.

Lounsberry, Megan. “No Textbooks Allowed! (Unless You’re a Graduate Student!): Louisiana State University Pilots an ILL Textbook Service. Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 28 (3/4): 61–73. https://doi.org/10.1080/1072303X.2019.1676862

Miles, John David. “Colfax, Kate Grant, and the Domestication of Reconstruction’s Violence,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 2 (Spring 2019).

Miles, John David. “The Loyalty of West Point’s Graduates Debated,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 1 (Winter 2019).

Miller, Marty. “Curriculum, Departmental, and Faculty Mapping in the Visual Arts Department,” Art Documentation, Volume 38, Issue 1 (March 2019): 159-173.

Morgan, Randa L. “Libraries and Gardens: Growing Together.” Catholic Library World, Volume 90, Issue 1 (September 2019): 68.

O’Neill, Brittany; and  Allen LeBlanc. “Evaluating Trends in Instruction Scheduling Management: A Survey of Louisiana’s Academic Libraries,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “The Moon Belongs to Everyone:  ResearchGate and Subscription Databases Compared.”  Louisiana Libraries. Volume 81, Issue 3, (Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “Information Literacy through Service Learning” in Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life.  Fannie M. Cox, Henry R. Cunningham, and Vickie Hines-Martin, eds., 2019.

Simms, Sarah; Hayley Johnson. “Hidden in Plain Sight,” 64 Parishes (Magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). Issue 4 (Summer 2019). https://64parishes.org/hidden-in-plain-sight.

Simms, S., & Johnson, H. Subtle activism: Using the library exhibit as a social justice tool, Alexandria, Volume 29, Issue 1-2 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1177/0955749019876119.

Ziegler, Scott; and Cara Key. “More Than a Pretty Interface: The Louisiana Digital Library as a Data Hub,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Ziegler, S.L. “Digitization Selection Criteria as Anti-Racist Action,” Code4Lib Journal. Issue 45 (2019). https://journal.code4lib.org/articles/14667

Ziegler, S.L. and Steve Martin. “A Hidden Gem Becomes a Fertile Mining Ground: Historic Prison Admission Books and Data-Driven Digital Projects,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Volume 143, Issue 3 (October 2019): 363-373.

2018

Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Rasmussen, Hans. “The Life and Death of Raquette in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans,” Sport History Review 49 (May 2018): 23-38.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Hiring and Staffing Trends in ARL Libraries,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Selected Demographic Trends in the ARL Professional Population,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Ziegler, Scott; and Richard Shrake. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).

2017

Caminita, C.; Cook, M.; and Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah; John Bourgeois; and Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Hawk, Amanda K. “Highflying Crowdfunding: Creating a Successful Partnership with a Campus Donor,” Archival Outlook, July/August 2017: 12-13, 19. https://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=422988.

Hebert, Andrea; and Marty Miller. (2017). Using FSA-OWI photographs to teach information and visual literacy. Louisiana Libraries, 79(3), 19–25.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.

More…

Contact Special Collections

Public Services Desk: (225) 578-6544

Reference Desk: (225) 578-6568

Fax: (225) 578-9425

Email: special@lsu.edu

Submit a reference question

RSS Feed RSS - Special Collections Posts