The Vatican Library invites scholars around the world to read and contribute to a new journal

By Carol Glatz, Catholic Press Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Vatican Library, one of the oldest libraries in the world, has launched a new scholarly journal to help promote high-quality research, dialogue between cultures and the sharing of knowledge related to library funds, said Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonca, Librarian and Archivist of the Vatican.

The Vatican Library Review “aspires to be an attractive place to publish high-quality, peer-reviewed research by actively welcoming and allocating contributions,” the cardinal wrote in an editorial for the journal’s first issue. The editorial was republished by the Vatican newspaper on September 7.

The Cardinal invited scholars to submit their contributions, adding that he hoped readers would explore each article regardless of their personal area of ​​interest and “join us in this dual endeavor of scientific rigor and intercultural dialogue.” Some of the articles in the first issue included “An Unpublished Illuminated Codex from Catalonia in the Vatican Library” and “Visual Kabbalah in the Italian Renaissance. The Kabbalistic Forms Booklet.

Created by Pope Nicolas V in the 15th century, the Vatican Library belongs to the Pope. However, Pope Leo XIII decided that it should be made more widely available to the academic world.

The Vatican Library houses some 80,000 manuscripts, nearly 1.6 million books, around 8,400 incunabula (books and pamphlets printed before 1501), and collections of coins and medals.

Its mission, Cardinal Mendonça wrote in his editorial, is “to preserve its ever-increasing number of treasures and to share this heritage with the academic world”. The library “has always been a place of research and an active host of collaboration”.

Over the years, the library has: seen a massive renovation of its facilities to make it more secure and up to modern standards; items tagged with radio frequency identification chips to better track and identify them; continued to digitize its collections, offering reproductions online.

Cardinal Mendonca wrote that The Vatican Library Review – published biannually in print and online by Brill Publishers, marks a new step in the Vatican’s decades-long work in publishing studies examining the holdings of the library and the publication of a newsletter on general news and events.

The journal seeks peer-reviewed “innovative scholarly contributions” to showcase the knowledge, ideas and findings of every scholar, the cardinal wrote, including the world of “early career scholars” and those whose work “may not fit neatly” into more established journals.

The journal will accept work written in English, German, French and Italian and may include shorter notes, conference reports, book reviews and summaries of completed dissertations, the editor wrote.

See issues of the Vatican Library Review.
View the Vatican Library’s online collections.

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