|Johann Dietenberger's translation of the Bible into German for Catholics. |
First published in 1534, this edition is from 1572.
Book no. 1 in the Saint John's list of book accessions.
Bibles and Beginnings
(Click on any image to see it enlarged.)
|Father Locnikar's accessions book from 1875.|
While it seems unthinkable that the monks travelling to Central Minnesota in 1856 would not have brought at least one Bible, a copy of the Rule of Benedict and liturgical books like missals and breviaries, there is no record to verify this. Ronald Roloff, O.S.B., in his 1953 history of the Abbey library could only point to early course catalogs and speculate that individual monks probably had personal libraries to use for worship and teaching. Already in 1869 and 1870 there were beginnings of student libraries at Saint John’s, but still no official Abbey or College library.
|An early 16th-century collection of Gospel and Epistle readings in German, |
with a hand-colored woodcut of the Nativity. In the Saint John's University Rare Books Collection.
|From one of the Gavin Books of Hours in the HMML collections at Saint John's.|
|Medieval fragment of a Bible with commentary glosses around Luke's Gospel text.|
|A vision of the Apocalypse from the 1572 Dietenberger Bible.|
What is most touching about the Dietenberger Bible, however, is that it is not in pristine condition! Many pages are damaged around the edges, some are water-stained, some pages are loose. The binding is very plain and worn. But all the damage bespeaks a volume that at one time was used heavily and not set aside as an untouchable jewel. Books have always been central to the spiritual life of the Benedictines, and this book—printed in 1572 in Germany and lovingly recorded in 1875 in Minnesota—appears to have earned its honorary title of number one (“Nro: 1”).
|Another side to the Rare Book Collections at Saint John's: an Ethiopian prayer scroll.|