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The Vatican Apostolic Library was officially established in 1475, although it is much older: historians explain that the Vatican Apostolic Library finds its origins in the earliest days of Christianity itself, with the preservation of much-valued 1st-century manuscripts.
Now, the Library has launched a new scholarly journal, the Vatican Library Review, inviting scholars from different scientific fields to submit their contributions. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Vatican librarian and archivist, encouraged the scientific community to join him in “this two-fold endeavor of scientific rigor and cross-cultural dialogue.”
Established in the Lateran Palace until the late 13th century, the Vatican Library grew exponentially during the papacy of Boniface VIII, who owned one of the biggest collections of illuminated manuscripts in Europe.
Later, in 1451, Pope Nicholas V (a renowned bibliophile himself) attempted to re-establish Rome as an academic center of global importance, building a relatively modest library of over 1,200 volumes, including his personal collection of Greek and Roman classics and a series of texts brought from Constantinople.
Nowadays, the Vatican Library treasures around 75,000 codices, 85,000 incunabula (i.e., editions made between the invention of the printing press and the 16th century), for a grand total of more than a million books. Most of these treasures are displayed online.
As read in Carol Glatz’s article for OSV, Cardinal Mendonça explained, in his editorial note to the journal’s first issue, that the Vatican Library Review “aspires to be an attractive place to publish high-quality, peer-reviewed research by actively hosting and allocating contributions.” Since the Library “has always been a place of research and an active host for collaboration,” the expects that the journal would help share its riches “with the academic world.”
The journal will be published twice a year, both in print and online. Some of the most interesting articles included in its first edition include a piece on Visual Kabbalah in the Italian Renaissance, and a previously unpublished Tristán cycle. The journal accepts works in English, German, French, and Italian. It also accepts shorter notes, reports on conferences, book reviews and summaries of finished dissertations.