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The Project and Our Continuing Mission

Biblia Latina (1478) The AGU Digital Access Project provides online access to special collections held by Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, with a focus on digitizing rare bibles and other religious editions within our library system. This project was begun in 2018 with support from the Aoyama Vision Initiative in conjunction with the Folger library's digital access team in Washington, DC. Though our progress was halted for a period by the Covid pandemic, we are now moving forward with generous support from the Aoyama Gakuin University Information Media Center and the University’s Institute of the Humanities. The Aoyama Gakuin Archives along with the university library system hold many items of historical significance, including rare print editions of religious works in Latin, Japanese, English, and other languages. The special holdings of the AGU libraries are one of the finest collections of rare Christian editions in Japan. We also host speakers and schedule events, i

Talks and Events

The Covid-19 outbreak of 2020 prohibited the AGU Digital Access Project to host in-person events. In order to continue our outreach efforts, we used funding from the AGU Humanities Research Insitute and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to begin a podcast series under the title of Speaking of Shakespeare . These conversations are with specialists not just in Shakespeare studies but also digital humanities specialist working in early modern studies. Here is a sample of recent talks. The full list of recent Speaking of Shakespeare talks is on YouTube and on a variety of podcast services that can be accessed on or from  Buzzsprout . With regard to the religious theme our mission, in June of 2022 we interviewed Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard University about his book, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve . The full talk is at: Speaking of Shakespeare Recently, we spoke with John Wall of North Carolina State University about the Virtual St Paul'

Project Team

Our project team in Tokyo began our work in conjunction with the Digital Access team at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. The project has enjoyed the gracious assistance of the staff at the Aoyama Gakuin Shiryo (Archives) Center. We are also closely aligned with the Aoyama Gakuin Christian Activities Center at our university, which supports a non-discriminatory and ecumenical approach to religious worship.    The technical effort we are using to transition rare books into open-access digital editions is not unlike the work of early printers in the 15th and 16th centuries, who used moveable type to reproduce and distribute works that were only in manuscript form. In our age, we are faced with the challenge of making these early editions accessible to all, an effort that requires hours of hands-on work and great care. Team Members Thomas Dabbs, Co-Director Professor Dabbs serves on the faculty of English and American Literature at AGU, where he teaches Shakespeare

Biblia Latina (1478)

The AGU digital access team has digitized the 15th-century  Bible Hieronymi , or  Biblia Latina,  from the Aoyama Archive. The entire edition is  available for viewing and downloading  at the Folger Shakespeare Library. This edition is an early print version of Jerome's Vulgate. A full list of references to this edition and holdings may be viewed at the British Library's Incunabula Short Title Catalogue .  Professor Shinichi Takeuchi of the AGU Department of English has studied this edition, and the below is a translation of his commentary on this work: From the mid-15th century, when Gutenberg began utilizing mechanical movable type , to the time when printing became prevalent at the turn of the 16th century, this is a special period in the history of the book. Books printed during this early period of moveable type are called incunabula . This is a crucial period that saw a transition from hand-transcription to a new era of reproducing texts with mechanical movable type

More Editions

In the fall of 2021, the Folger Library added two more editions to their Miranda platform. The first edition is Biblia Sacra (1662), a Latin bible, a full edition that can be viewed below or more fully  on the Folger's Miranda platform . Biblia Sacra  (1662), is a 17th-century edition printed in Paris by Antonius VitrĂ©, sanctioned by the king. The  Biblia Sacra  is an enormous printed work, 44 centimeters in size and over 700 pages. It was printed in Latin and like many of the works of its time, has imperfections in its pagination. The edition also includes maps. The second edition is Milton's History of Britain (1670). This history by the famous British poet is also a full edition that can be viewed below or more fully  on the Folger's Miranda platform .  "Its origins are complicated and unclear. Milton probably began writing it in 1647, just before the outbreak of the Second Civil War, and broke off in the middle of book 4 early in 1649 when he was o

Special Collections Database

Our team has formed a database specifically for rare Bibles and generally for all special collection items related to this project. This database includes editions from the main library at AGU and also from all libraries on both campuses. The featured books in these collections are: Biblia Latina  (1478, Aoyama Gakuin Archives) Biblia Sacra (1662, Aoyama Gakuin Archives) A Part of Hebrew Bible Scrolls (16 century, Aoyama Gakuin) Novum Testamentum   (1539, Aoyama Gakuin Archives) Testamenti Novi   (1539, Aoyama Gakuin Archives) Die Bibel nach Martin Luther (2017, Aoyama Gakuin University Library) The Holy Bible : containing the Old and New Testaments, with the apocryphal books, in the earliest English versions made from the Latin vulgate by John Wycliffe and his followers (1850, Aoyama Gakuin Archives) Other rare editions are available from any web browser search or find function in our comprehensive database of the rare holdings in all AGU libr

Future Editions

More digitized editions from the 16th century are on the way, including duodecimo (small) New Testament editions printed in the 16th-century with copious illustrations. Novum Testamentum (1539) The first of these editions is the Novum Testamentum , printed in Paris by Franciscus Gryphius in 1539. This small edition offers copious illustrations of stories and themes represented in the New Testament. Testamenti Novi (1564) The second small edition and next in line to be digitized is the Testamenti Novi , printed and published in Lyon by the firm of Sebastian Gryphius in 1564, the year of Shakespeare's birth. This edition also offers numerous illustrations representing the stories and themes of the New Testament. In both cases, the illustrations in these small editions are highly detailed, but difficult to see with the naked eye. Once these editions are scanned and made into high-resolution images the reader may expand these images to experience and study in the art of