Patron saints

St. Isidore. Source:
Wikipedia Commons
What with budget-cutting, FBI snoops, and book-stealing, libraries need all the help they can get. In the US, the patron saint of libraries is St. Jerome, translator of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin; in Europe St. Lawrence (probably the first of that name) watches over them.
The patron saint of that branch of the Library of Babel known as the Internet is Saint Isidore (lnglabeng.png,lnglabfr.png,lnglabdeu.png), best known for his Etymologiæ, an encyclopedia of ancient learning that became the most-used textbook of the early Middle Ages. The Hindu protector of libraries (and of learning generally) is the elephant-god Ganesh.
One thing libraries do well (when they’re not burned down, censored, or pillaged) is to preserve old books and manuscripts, and to make them available to the public. The Codex Sinaiticus, which is thought to be from the mid-4th century, is the oldest surviving complete copy of the New Testament in Greek. It also contains some apocryphal texts and a version of the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament;
Codex Boernerianus, f12 (from the Epistle to the Romans), Greek with interlinear Latin translation.
Source: Sächsischen Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB), Digitale Bibliothek.
the first part of this, from Genesis to I Chronicles, is missing. Only one other manuscript, the Codex Vaticanus, is as old; manuscripts older than these two contain only fragments of the New Testament. Four institutions now own parts of the Codex Sinaiticus:
  • The British Library, UK
  • Leipzig University Library, Germany
  • St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai
  • The National Library of Russia, St Petersburg
These four are cooperating to conserve the text and to digitize it for online distribution. Eight books so far have been processed, including Jeremiah, Psalms, and Mark.
Other early codices now online include the Codex Boreelianus at Utrecht (11th century) and the Codex Boernerianus at Dresden (9th century).

LinkJuly 27, 2008 in Bibliography · Books · Religion