Field Trip to Univ of Michigan Manuscript Library

I took my son with me Tuesday evening to the University of Michigan special collections library where a man in my Greek class had set up a tour. U of M (as the Michiganders call it) has the largest manuscript library in the Western Hemisphere. Spencer is interested in “boring” things like this just as I am, and so we both had a wonderful time. We even stopped by Barnes & Noble in Ann Arbor on the way back which was exciting for Spencer simply because he’s never out that late.

Spencer liked looking at the old manuscripts and learning about how they were made and copied and what was written on them. Since most of that was old hat to me, I just liked being in the presence of some of these old pages and books. Here are some highlights:

P46 – the earliest copy of Paul’s epistles. Interesting that the Epistle to the Hebrews is included in this manuscript, right after Romans.

Medieval manuscript Bibles – I felt like I was in the presence of something from The Name of the Rose.

Geneva Bible – the first true “study Bible,” used extensively by our Calvinist forefathers (yes, I know it was called the “Breeches Bible”; don’t care).

Erasmus’ Greek NT – Erasmus’ Greek and Latin editions with the Vulgate. Smaller than I thought it would be (it seems books back then were either dramatically large or very small, pocket-sized almost).

An original 1611 KJV – not many of these are left and this one was huge! The card underneath it explained the variant of “he” vs. “she” in Ruth 3:15. The librarian opened the case to the 1611 and showed us the first page of the New Testament which has all of redemptive history displayed symbolically.

I hope to take Spencer back one day before he is back in school just to browse around.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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