Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Library Repair Causes a Plea to the Pope


NY Times, June 21:

"ROME June 21 — Normally a sanctuary of scholarly meditation, the Vatican Library has been the scene of unusually hectic activity lately, as word has spread that it will close in July for a three-year renovation.

Since the Vatican announced the impending shutdown, dozens of scholars have been lining up each day at ever earlier hours to snatch one of the 92 available spots in the manuscript room, where they can pore over archaic texts in forgotten languages. The library staff, traditionally prompt in responding to requests, has been struggling to keep up with the demand.

'We’re kept waiting like the virgins in the Gospel for their bridegroom to come,' Lucas Van Rompay, a professor of religion from Duke University who specializes in Eastern Christianity, said jokingly.' . . . Petitions addressed to Pope Benedict XVI, the ultimate authority on Vatican matters, are circulating among scholars. Some ask that the manuscript division at least remain accessible to the public during the three-year renovation. Others request that the closing be delayed until 2008 so that scholars will have time to wrap up research and meet publishing or teaching deadlines."

Read the whole story here. And do check out the slideshow from the library.

(I will travel the rest of the week and therefore cannot blog).

1 comment

  1. Do we know where the MSS go while the renovation goes on?

    It sounds like the whole place is in serious danger. I do wonder how the critics would propose that they keep the documents accessible. You can not just keep a collapsing building open so someone can finish their catalog of Syriac MSS.