Ancient Bibles go online in Bodleian-Vatican library tie-up

Illustration from a 10th century Greek bible The 10th century Greek Bible Reginensis Graecus 1 held at Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana is famous for its "splendid" miniatures
Detail from the Bodleian's Gutenberg Bible Fewer than 50 copies of Gutenberg's Bible survive today, and the Bodleian's copy is one of only seven complete examples in the British Isles
Illustration from the Kennicott Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Kennicott Bible owes its name to the English Hebraist Benjamin Kennicott, who was the librarian of the Radcliffe Library in Oxford

Related Stories

Ancient Bibles and Biblical texts from the Bodleian and Vatican libraries have been digitised and made available to the public for the first time.

Europe's first printed book, Gutenberg's 1455 Bible, is among texts accessible on a website in the project run by Oxford and The Vatican City.

New technology has enabled zoomable high-resolution images of the early manuscripts and books for research.

The £2m project will digitise 1.5m pages over the next three years.

Homer, Sophocles and Plato

Ancient texts

  • The Vatican Library was founded in 1451 by Pope Nicholas V
  • The Bodleian, the principal Oxford University library, was founded in 1602, making it one of Europe's oldest
  • Many of the first books printed in Rome between 1467 and 1473 are preserved in the Vatican Library
  • The digitisation project will focus on the Bodleian's rare copies of early printed works from England and Italy

The selection of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts as well as other early printed books are held in the network of University of Oxford libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV).

They have been described by a Bodleian spokeswoman as "some of the world's most unique and important" Bibles and Biblical texts.

BAV holds manuscripts of the New Testament and of the Church Fathers, many of them richly decorated with Byzantine miniatures.

The website, in English and Italian, is supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who features in one of the website's video interviews about the importance of the project.

Richard Ovenden, interim Bodley's librarian, said: "We hope that through digitising and making openly accessible some of the most significant books in our collections we will increase their potential for research and broader understanding of these ancient texts."

The Vatican Library prefect, Monsignor Cesare Pasini, said he was "very pleased with the website" and that the collaboration was "a trademark of the world of culture".

At a later phase, manuscripts held at BAV to be digitised include works by Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates.

Dr Leonard Polonsky, whose foundation has funded the project, said he hoped that the collection of digital texts would "make a contribution to the advancement of modern scholarship".

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Oxford



26 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

    Fiaz Munshi guilty of manslaughter 14:41: Peter Cooke Reporter, BBC South Today

    Fiaz Munshi has been found guilty of two counts of manslaughter in connection with the deaths of siblings Anum and Majid Khan in an Oxford house fire in August 1997.

    The 38-year-old was cleared of two counts of murder.

    More to follow.

    Feedback 14:28:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? Tell us what you think.

    Downton comes calling 14:10: Oxford Times

    The cast and crew of ITV hit drama Downton Abbey were busy filming scenes at St Mary's Church in Witney yesterday.

    News headlines 13:59:

    In the BBC Radio Oxford news at 14:00 with Rachel Hicks:

    Motorway madness 13:44: Kat Orman Afternoon presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On the show this afternoon, I'm talking about a new report published by the Highways Agency revealing some of the odd reasons motorists have given for stopping illegally on motorways.

    What unbelievable things have you seen people doing on the motorway?

    Join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

    Bypass 'failing rapidly' 13:33:

    The A420 Shrivenham bypass to close for seven weeks, diversions will be in place for all traffic travelling between Oxford and Swindon.

    David Nimmo Smith, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "This section of the A420 is failing rapidly and needs to be reconstructed. Our engineers will be working hard to renew the road, clean the drainage and replace the safety barrier.

    "I am sure that the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain as the road should not need further repairs for many years."

    Lunchtime news 13:21: BBC South Today

    In the programme from 13:30 with Roger Finn, an organisation working with deaf people in Oxfordshire says lives could be put at risk due to a shortage of sign language interpreters supplied by the NHS.

    Plus, Holly Green will have the region's weather forecast for the afternoon.

    Dedication to towers 13:07: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    It's just five days and counting to the demolition of the Didcot Power Station's famous towers.

    They're an icon, an eyesore and for the people of Didcot they're a way of life. Today, I met Kelly Green, from Greater Leys, who grew up in Didcot.

    Kelly Green's Didcot tattoo

    Her love for the towers is so great, she's had them tattooed on her leg.

    News headlines 12:58: BBC Radio Oxford

    In the BBC Radio Oxford news at 13:00 with Rachel Hicks:

    Kitson calls time 12:47: Ross Heaton Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Oxford United have confirmed the retirement of veteran striker Dave Kitson.

    Dave Kitson

    The 34-year old joined the club last season and speculation about his future had grown after he wasn't part of the squad for the U's last pre-season game at Didcot Town on Saturday.

    Having spoken to new manager Michael Appleton at the end of last week about his wish to retire, Kitson leaves the club by mutual consent.

    Gender selection views 12:34: via Facebook

    Malcolm Boyden's been discussing the issue of gender selection on his show today.

    On the BBC Radio Oxford Facebook page, Judith Dunn said: We have 6 wonderful offspring...all grownup with children of their own. My hubby's 4 lads and my 2 girls....wouldn't have had it any other way!

    Daniel Emlyn-Jones added: Leave some things to chance. We can't and shouldn't control everything.

    Vaccine trial volunteers wanted 12:23: Birmingham Updates

    The University of Birmingham and University of Oxford are looking for healthy volunteers, who have never had the BCG vaccine, aged between 18 and 55 to participate in a vaccine trial.

    Discovering Tutankhamun 12:11: Lilley Mitchell Reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    This morning on the breakfast show, I went for a sneak preview behind-the-scenes at the Ashmolean Museum ahead of their Discovering Tutankhamun exhibition.

    Tutankhamun exhibition

    It starts on Thursday, but you can see a selection of the exhibits on the BBC Radio Oxford Facebook page.

    News headlines 11:59: Paul Jenner Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    The top stories on BBC Radio Oxford at 12:00 include:

    50 drivers stopped 11:51: Oxford Mail

    A car was seized and 50 drivers stopped during police checks in Headington on Monday.

    Bypass to close 11:40: Emily-Ann Elliott BBC News Online

    A major bypass in Oxfordshire will close for seven weeks as £3.5m of resurfacing work is carried out.

    A420 at Watchfield

    The A420 Shrivenham bypass will shut between Watchfield and Lower Bourton from midnight.

    Some of the 20,000 motorists who use the route daily will see their journeys increase from 12 to 50 miles.

    U's in training 11:28:

    BBC Oxford Sport tweets: It's day two of Oxford United's training camp at a sun drenched Bisham Abbey #oufc

    Oxford United pre season
    On the moo-ve 11:17: Thame Gazette

    A lifesize model cow used to provide advertising two years ago needs a new home in Thame.

    Police 'value for money' 11:06: BBC Radio Oxford

    Thames Valley Police provides "good value for money", according to a report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

    It says the force is on track to achieve the required savings of £58.9m over the current spending review period and to meet its future financial challenge.

    Chief Constable Sara Thornton

    Chief Constable Sara Thornton (pictured) says she's pleased with the report, but budgets still need to be reduced by a further £38m over the next three years.

    News headlines 10:58: Paul Jenner Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    The top stories on BBC Radio Oxford at 11:00 include:

    Gender selection 10:44: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On the show today, I'm talking about gender selection.

    It's as a British mother has spent over £20,000 on gender selection treatment in order to have a baby daughter.


    What do you think? Is it right to have the choice? Get in touch on email, Facebook and Twitter.

    Deaf services criticised 10:32: BBC Radio Oxford

    More needs to be done to make sure deaf people in Oxfordshire can get get access to health services.

    That's from Healthwatch Oxfordshire which has commissioned a report looking into the issue.

    It says deaf people in Oxfordshire feel "uncomfortable", "oppressed" and "discriminated against" when they go to the doctor or hospital here in the county.

    Royal birthday jet 10:19: BBC South Today

    It's been described as "the worlds most expensive birthday card".

    Prince George plane

    A private jet company from Oxfordshire's repainted a plane in honour of Prince George's first birthday today.

    Oxford-based private jet company Hangar8 wanted to make everyone smile as they wished Prince George many happy returns.

    Free station parking 10:07:

    First Great Western is offering free parking at Didcot Parkway railway station this weekend for people wishing to see the demolition of the power station's cooling towers.

    Didcot towers

    Free parking at the Foxhall Road car park will be available between midnight on Saturday and 07:00 Sunday.

    The Earth Trust, the charity that looks after Wittenham Clumps, and Taylor Wimpey, the housing developer at Great Western Park, will also be providing free parking near a safe viewing area.

    News headlines 09:59: Paul Jenner Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up in the BBC Radio Oxford news at 10:00:

    Hop to it 09:47:

    Many thanks to Adrian Richards in Bicester for emailing in this picture taken in his back garden over the weekend.

    Bicester frog

    Looks like the weather suits this chap, one of the 200 tadpoles released earlier this year by Adrian.

    Don't forget - if you've got a picture you'd like to share with us - you can email or post it on Facebook and Twitter.

    Barn fire 09:36: BBC Radio Oxford

    A barn fire's still being hosed down by firefighters near Thame.

    It led to the closure of the A418 for around four hours between Tiddington and Thame yesterday evening.

    Nobody has been hurt.

    Home development plans 09:27: Witney Gazette

    Residents were invited to give their views on a proposed 200-home development in Witney.

    Top headlines
    'Mentally ill' detained 09:19: Helen Catt Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Yesterday we told you how more than 500 people with mental health issues in the Thames Valley were locked in police cells in the last two years due to a lack of NHS resources.

    Woman with her head in her hands (file photo)

    Police can detain people under the Mental Health Act if there's no "safe space" in hospitals available.

    Health minister Norman Lamb has spoken out against the practice in the past calling it a "scandal".

    Pronunciation pet hates 09:08: via Facebook

    David Prever's talking point on words which made you made when they're mispronounced has really got you going this morning.

    On the BBC Radio Oxford Facebook page, Julie Priest said: When people mean to say asterisk, but say Asterix. Grrr!

    Dale Roberts added: When those on Great British Bake call 'Macaroons' - 'MacaRONs'!!

    News headlines 08:59: Charles Nove Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    The top stories on BBC Radio Oxford at 09:00 include:

    Word crimes 08:49:

    David Prever's been asking which words drive you mad when they're mispronounced.

    On Twitter, Nige H says: @BBCOxford when did controversy become contra-versy? Even radio 4 pronounce it that way now.

    Jo Moir tweeted: @BBCphilgayle@BBCOxford@DPrever For me it's schedule pronounced as 'sk' when it should be 'sh' (the British version vs US )

    Jury deliberates 08:36: Peter Cooke Reporter, BBC South Today

    The jury in the trial of a woman charged with murdering two children in a house fire in 1997 has retired to consider its verdict.

    Anum Khan and Majid Khan

    Fiaz Munshi, 38, from Oldham, denies murdering Anum and Majid Khan, aged eight and 15, in the fire in Magdalen Road, Oxford.

    The trial at Oxford Crown Court has lasted seven weeks.

    What you say? 08:25: David Prever Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    I'm sitting in for Phil Gayle again this morning and asking, what are the words that drive you mad when they're mispronounced?

    I hate it when "croissant" is pronounced "CRE-SONT"?

    Get in touch and tell me what frustrates you, on Facebook and Twitter.

    Moving well 08:15: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The Oxford Ring Road and major routes into and out of the city are flowing well this morning.

    There's also a good public transport service.

    Keep tuned to 95.2FM or listen online every 15 minutes for the latest.

    More sunshine ahead 08:06: Holly Green BBC Weather

    Another warm and humid day with plenty of spells of sunshine.

    Holly Green Tuesday weather

    Cloud clearing to begin with, leading to warm periods. There is a chance more cloud will build up later.

    A high of between 25 and 26C (77F).

    Good morning 08:00: Adam Williams BBC Local Live

    Good morning and welcome along to BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire this Tuesday morning.

    I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather from across the county.

    Get in touch and tell us how your weekend was - on email, Facebook or Twitter.



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.