Theology

A near rival in size to the Classical Greek collection is Theology, which begins with nearly a thousand Bibles, mostly Greek; a fine series of the liturgical books of the Orthodox Church, together with samples of the other Eastern rites (Armenian, Chaldean, Coptic, Ethiopic, Jacobite, Malabar, and Syrian); and those of the West. The Councils, Canons, and Catechisms are succeeded by the Greek Fathers of the Church (first to fifteenth century) and later theologians; the history of the Churches, schisms and religious polemics, and, more recently, efforts towards reunion. Judaism, Islam and other faiths round out the riches of this collection.

The origin of the printed Bible begins for us with the Greek and Latin Psalter printed in Milan, 1481; the Aldine Greek Psalter ca. 1496; the New Testament in Greek and Latin, edited by Erasmus and printed by Frobin in Basel, 1516; and the complete Bible in Greek, produced by the Aldine press in 1518. From 120 years later, in 1636, there is one other early Greek Bible; the New Testament sponsored by Kyrillos Loukaris, patriarch of Constantinople. The text appears in two parallel columns, the original and (in larger type) the demotic version. Whether or not Loukaris lived to see this book, printed in Geneva, is unknown, since it was in this year that he was strangled by the Janissaries and thrown into the Bosporus.