Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Library of the Biblicum in Rome

The Library of the Biblicum in Rome

The Library of the Biblicum in Rome

Posted: 05 Apr 2014 10:15 AM PDT


Rome is a city with many universities and faculties that are approved and established directly by the Vatican and therefore bear the title "Pontifical" and give ecclesiastical academic degrees. Notable ones include the Pontifical Gregorian University (also called the Gregoriana) run by the Jesuits, Pontifical University of Saint Thomas (or the Angelicum), run by the Dominicans, Pontifical Salesian University, Pontifical Lateran University of the Diocese of Rome, Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm run by the Benedictines, and Pontifical Biblical Institute (or Biblicum), also run by the Jesuits, and many others.

Many of these centres of higher learning have their areas of specialization and it cannot be denied that studies in one university or institute can be more demanding than the other.

There is a running joke that if you want to know Europe, then go to Angelicum (since the studies are demanding and you would have a lot of time to tour around); if you want to know Italy, then go to the Lateran University; if you want to know Rome, then go to the Gregoriana. And here is the clincher--if you want to know the library, go to the Biblicum!

The first three would vary, depending on who cracks the joke, but the last one is always given to the Biblicum because of the demands of study. Indeed, there is a need for many hours of serious study for the Biblicum students who specialize in the study of Sacred Scripture.

The library of the Biblicum is a highly specialized one, which boasts of copies of the original manuscripts and scholarly editions of the Bible, lexicons and grammars on the Biblical languages and also those of the Ancient Near East, concordances to the Bible, Biblical commentaries, monographs on Biblical and ancient Near Eastern themes and archaeology and journals specializing on the Bible.

This is among my favorite libraries because I have been in it almost everyday for the past four years and in a few months time I will be missing it. It exudes an aura that is quite ancient (true to its dealing with writings and languages that are ancient) and this gives me a feeling of being in a school a la Hogwarts. The Institute is relatively new (just over a hundred years old) but the buildings apparently date back to centuries before.

The pictures presented here are a sample of what I see daily as I work in the final leg of my Biblicum experience.

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Peaceful protest in dowtown Albuquerque against APD

Posted: 04 Apr 2014 09:29 PM PDT

On Friday April 4th around 150 Albuquerque citizens gather in Civic Plaza to protest the recent shooting of James Boyd and other APD shootings. The protest kicked off around 4:30pm and quickly gained momentum. The group marched through downtown Albuquerque for sometime protesting the corrupt police force. The protest remained peaceful and respectful.

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Utrecht University Library, the Netherlands

Posted: 04 Apr 2014 11:38 AM PDT

I was lucky spending one year to study at Utrecht University. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe.
Someone said that every top university has its own top library. Utrecht University is not an exception.
Among its several libraries, my favourite one is the University City Centre Library. As its name, the library is located at the heart of the city. It looks ancient outside but modern inside. The first time I visited the library, I was impressed by the largeness of the building with hundreds of thousand books various from philosophy, arts to law, economics, ect. The library has more than 650 study places, many of which are very cozy, comfortable to study individually or in group.
Another feature of the library attracting people is the way bookshelves are displayed that brings more free spaces to the library. The light of the walls and the covers of the books make the library bright and colourful. I could spend the whole day in this library to swim in the ocean of books.

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Rwanda Today: Unimaginable forgiveness

Posted: 04 Apr 2014 08:52 AM PDT

Six months ago I went to a community in Rwanda, close to the same communities where I photographed the violence and impact of the genocide years ago. This time I photographed children who are best friends, even though their parents were on opposite sides of the genocide. The unimaginable has happened. The genocide hasn't been forgotten, but within these families there has been forgiveness and reconciliation.


I've been back to Rwanda many times, and watched the slow process of reconciliation take effect. But the last time was the first time I was with a family who had been bitter enemies and directly harmed each other, and who were now the closest of friends because of reconciliation work! The non-profit World Vision started in that community doing relief, so they've seen the entire spectrum of assistance and development. Our society is so focused on justice, on punishment for evil doers. But here there was complete forgiveness. We have lots to learn from them!


-Jon Warren, photographer, World Vision

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A Quiet Spot in Busy Manhattan

Posted: 04 Apr 2014 05:53 AM PDT


My visit to New York in the summer of 2012 was a short one but I made it a point to see the public library. One of the my confreres in Rome was telling me that it is worth visiting this library that lives up to its name--first, that it is public, that is, open to everyone, even to non-members and non-residents who decide to drop by; second, that it is a library, a quiet place conducive for studying. I also remember that it appeared in the apocalyptic science fiction film The Day After Tomorrow and therefore it is a place that I should not miss.

That is why when I had the chance, I asked my New Yorker friend Joni to bring me to this place. It was awesome. From the aesthetic side it exuded brilliant artistry that suggested the antiquity of the noble pursuit of knowledge. The facade, the polished corridors, the marble halls, the ceilings, the frescoes--all these gave the library a classic character. Couple this with the thousands of books that line the shelves, the functional tables, and the milieu of peace and quiet and this library becomes a real sanctuary of sacred study not only for the true blue New Yorker but also for its visitors, a quiet spot in the generally busy city.

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Mill Valley Public Library

Posted: 04 Apr 2014 12:03 AM PDT

I'm a professional photographer who recently did an architectural photo shoot at the Mill Valley Public Library in Marin County, 20 minutes north of San Francisco. Nestled in ancient redwood trees on the edge of a flowing creek beside an old mill, this is one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever visited.


This 100-year old library has modern, lodge-like interiors with high ceilings, polished hardwood floors and classy wooden furniture. It's lit by soft overhead lights and rows of old fashioned lamps on the wooden tables. A large lounge area has comfortable couches and even a working fireplace.


The pictures below are some of the many I shot in this library, and give a glimpse into just one floor of this architectural gem. If you're looking for a relaxing place to work, read or just enjoy the beauty of a redwood forest, visit the Mill Valley Public Library.


You can see more of my work at

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Iowa State Law Library

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 02:51 PM PDT

The Iowa State Law Library is located on the second floor of the Iowa Capitol building. Of all the libraries that I've photographed, I believe this one is the most beautiful.

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Fort Hood 2009

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 02:40 PM PDT

My name is Karen Nourse. My son Spc Fred Greene was murdered in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. I would like to speak to the public about my experience with the Fort Hood officials and the sorrow I feel due to the current shooting.

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Portugal's Royal Library

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 09:08 AM PDT

In 2008 my wife and I had the opportunity to spend 45 days traveling in Portugal. It is a beautiful country and the people are warm and gracious. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the National Palace of Mafra.

The Royal Convent of Mafra, later known as the National Palace of Mafra, is one of the most significant baroque structures of Portugal located only 17 miles from Lisbon. It was commissioned by King John V in 1717 and houses one of the most significant book/manuscript collections from the 14th to the 19th century.
The Library of the Convent of Mafra is located on the second floor of the building with magnificent mosaic marble and wood bookshelves carved by Manuel Caetano de Sousa in the Rococo style.
It measures 289 feet long, by 31 feet wide and 42 feet high. Its collection of over 36,000 leather-bounded volumes includes printed books and manuscripts on a variety of subjects such as medicine, pharmacy, history, geography, travelling, philosophy, theology, canonic and civil laws, mathematics, art, natural history, sermons, literature, music sheets from Portuguese and foreign composers and a large collection of bibles.
One aspect of the preservation of the books is accomplished in a most unusual way. A small colony of bats that occupy the library keep the "paper eating" insect population in check.

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