A group of rare religious texts has been made available online thanks to a joint effort of the Vatican library and the Bodlein Libraries at Oxford.
The series includes a copy of Maimonides’ 12th-century commentary on the Mishnah, written in the philosopher’s own hand, as well as a 15th-century Spanish Hebrew bible and a rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible.
The works went virtual Tuesday on Oxford’s library site, and will eventually be joined by 1.5 million additional pages of rare religious texts, including more Hebrew manuscripts. The pages are set to be added over the course of the next three years.
“We want everyone who can to see these manuscripts, these great works of humanity,” Monsignor Cesare Pasini, the prefect of the Vatican Library, told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. “And we want to conserve them.”
Richard Ovenden, an Oxford librarian, added: “We hope that through digitizing 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.”
Digitization of the pages was made possible through a $3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation. View the entirety of the project here.