The Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana is the third-oldest public library in Europe, after the Bodleian Library (1603) at Oxford and the Angelica Library (1604) in Rome.A fascinating account of the founding and early history of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The focus is on its collection of Arabic manuscripts, but it also has manuscripts important for biblical and ancient Jewish studies.
Within a five-minute-walk from the Milan Cathedral, it remains an important site for scholars and students, providing a model of intercultural dialogue and education.
It sits timelessly in the heart of the city. Its spacious rooms are filled with 35,000 manuscripts of great artistic and codicological value, 2,500 incunabula, and one million books. These precious library materials allow the researchers' minds to expand infinitely. Here, they can see the whole universe within themselves.
Codex Ambrosianus B.21 is a manuscript a Syriac translation of the whole Bible – construed broadly to include the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Apocrypha, and some books that didn't make it into any of the official biblical canons. I have blogged on the manuscript here, based on a photolithographic reproduction in the special collections of the University of St. Andrews Library. In 2011 I visited the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, where I saw and photographed the actual manuscript. For more on it see here, here, and here. And for posts on another manuscript from this library, see here and here.
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