Western Libraries

Rare Texts from Oxford and Vatican Libraries now available online.

Bodelian and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana logos

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library) have joined efforts to digitize some of the most important bibles and biblical texts in their collection, including a Gutenberg bible, a 13th-century Hebrew Bible originally collected by Benjamin Kennicott, and a late 13th- or early 14th-century Babylonian Talmud. Over the course of the next four years, 1.5 million pages from their remarkable collections will be made freely available online to researchers and to the general public. The website includes essays and video presentations to enable users to make the most of the material available and a link to a blog featuring descriptions of the project.

The initiative has been made possible by a £2 million award from the Polonsky Foundation.

The digitization project will focus on a selection from both libraries and three main groups of texts:
  • Hebrew Manuscripts; Biblical and Talmudic texts and commentaries
  • Greek Manuscripts; a number of rare early bibles
  • Incunabula or Early Printed Books, from the first decade of printing including works in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and vernacular languages.
The complete list of works to be digitized can be accessed here for Greek manuscripts, here for Hebrew manuscripts, and here for incunabula.
Links to the web site are available on the Program Guide for Medieval Studies and  in the Library Catalogue.