Tuesday, April 16, 2013

@ Tyndale House - Day 2

Today was more about production.  I laid down a good 1,000 words this morning; good or not, its 1,000 words!

The two highlights today have been again at the University Library.  

First, I visited the Manuscripts Room.  Here, I was able to read my adviser's, John Nolland, doctoral dissertation completed at Clare College, University of Cambridge in 1977.  His dissertation is unpublished and is thus hard to find a copy of.  I was the ninth individual to read it since 1979 (since the first reader).  Cambridge has each reader sign the inside cover of each thesis when it is requested and read.  There were no other names that I recognized off the top of my head signed in on his book.

Directly after I left the Manuscript Room I went two floors down to the Rare Books Room.  Here I met the director who took me into his office and unveiled the Gutenberg Bible.  The history of GB is well known, but some details about the particular one the Cambridge UL owns was especially fascinating.  The most interesting was that it has special markings in pencil throughout the volume indicating that it was used later on for another printer to use as an exemplar print of the Bible.  The volume owned by the UL is a two-volume edition.  The illumination in the book was also hand painted and much of it included gold leaf (see the first page that I observed today to the left).  The UL Gutenberg Bible was first owned by a mysterious man in Germany, then an Earl in Scotland that I cannot recall at the moment, then bought by a Trinity College alum, and then donated by this alum to the Cambridge UL.

There are now about 150 or so Gutenberg Bibles still in extant.  The tricky thing is that the originals have generally been parsed up, so some exist in just leafs, and other in multiple volumes that once were one tome, other collections simply owning individual volumes of a larger original GB.  This is also true for the Cambridge UL version.  Before it was donated by a Trinity College alum, it was rebound into two beautiful, yet unoriginal, volumes.  Cambridge UL possess both volumes, thus the GB in  its entirety.  In the end, being in the personal presence of such a culturally and historically significant book (?), object (?), icon (?), was quite overwhelming.   

In just moments I will be leaving to attend Evensong at Trinity College.  I look forward to worshiping with the people of God.  

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