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Ancient texts from Vatican and Oxford online

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican Apostolic Library and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have joined forces to digitise and make available online some of the most important and unique bibles in the world, as well as biblical texts from their collections, the Vatican Information Service reported.

From December 3 onwards, the digitised texts can be accessed at

This is only the first step of a four-year collaborative project to publish them on the Internet. 

A committee of academics and experts from around the world has selected a part of the collection of manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek, as well as incunabula from the Bodleian and Vatican Apostolic Libraries for initial digitalisation.

The selection process has taken into account both the requirements of scholars and practical needs. Restorers from both libraries have collaborated with conservators to ascertain not only the value of the contents, but also the conditions of preservation of the works.

Although for some years now the two institutions have digitally reproduced part of their collections, this project provides them both with the opportunity to increase the scale and numerical capacity of the volumes digitised.

Great care has been taken not to expose the works to damage, as they are delicate and fragile, because of age. How well they have been preserved also affects the risk of damage.

The newly-opened website provides high-resolution scale images permitting detailed study and scientific analysis. The site includes videos and essays by scholars.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, an archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, and the archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Justin Welby are supporting the project.


A blog with articles on conservation, digitalising techniques and methods used during the project completes the site, which may be viewed in either English or Italian.

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