Last Friday afternoon (12th April) I was delighted to welcome 36 conference delegates from the Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries (ABTAPL) to Special Collections to view a display of treasures from the Library’s theology and philosophy collections. Also on display, on loan from Archive Services, was a replica of the Papal Bull of 1451, which is the instrument which founded the University of Glasgow. You can read more about this on the University of Glasgow Story website here.
ABTAPL was formed to help those working in libraries containing theological, philosophical and related materials by sharing information and experience. The members meet twice a year, with a residential week-end held in the spring. This year this was held in Glasgow from 11-13th April.
On display were a few highlights from the Library’s significant holdings relating to religion and theology and philosophy. These collections include devotional literature dating from the medieval period and thousands of early printed texts, including Bibles, works of Biblical criticism and sermons. Most of these were acquired by the University during the era when the emphasis on teaching was strongly oriented towards Divinity and the training of future ministers of the Church of Scotland.
Several of the collections contain material relating to philosophy, including 240 documents relating to the economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790), and texts used at the University for teaching and research up until the end of the eighteenth century, supplemented by nineteenth century holdings of class libraries.
List of items on display
- Papyrus fragment from St John’s Gospel
- Illuminated medieval manuscript
- King James Bible
- Geneva Bible
- Great Bible
- Armenian Prayer Scroll
- William Caxton’s Golden Legend
- Book of Hours
- Embroidered Book of Psalms: Sp Coll Euing De-m.8 [no online record available].
- Boethius’ Consolations of Philosophy
- Peter Lombard: Sententiarium Libri Quattuor
- Adam Smith: Theory of Moral Sentiments
- David Hume: Treatise of Human Nature
- Principal Leechman’s Bible
Although these items are no longer on display, they are all available for consultation at Special Collections, with the exception of the Papal Bull which is held at Archive Services, along with many other fascinating medieval Papal Bulls of historical significance to the University.
Following their visit to Special Collections, the delegates were given tours of the Library guided by Honor Hania from the Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences Library Team (who was also one of the delegates) and Sonny Maley, College Library Support Team Supervisor. The visit was rated a great success and much enjoyed by all involved.