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Brandeis U. to Get Vatican Library Hebrew Manuscripts on Microfilm

October 20, 1961
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The contents of more than 800 volumes of Hebrew manuscripts in the Vatican library in Rome will be made available in microfilm form to American scholars through a gift to Brandeis University from Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, from funds from a group of Catholic donors, it was announced here today.

The Hebrew manuscripts are considered a treasure trove of medieval and post-medieval writings. The project, which will make their contents available for the first time outside of the Vatican library, is being conducted jointly by the Jesuit-sponsored St. Louis University, and Brandeis University. The total microfilm footage will be the equivalent of the contents of 300 months of a metropolitan daily newspaper.

Systematic collection of Hebrew manuscripts by Vatican librarians began in the second half of the 15th century. The library to be microfilmed reflects the development of Middle Eastern and European Jewish learning in the medieval, renaissance and early modern periods. Included are biblical commentaries, Jewish participation in the spread of philosophical and scientific learning in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, data on Jewish scholarship throughout the Mediterranean world, and related material.

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