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Out of Many, One. Exhibit on the Religions of Abraham at the NYPL

The sweep of the new exhibition at the New York Public Library — “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” — is stunning. It encompasses both an elaborately decorated book of 20th-century Coptic Christian readings and a modest 19th-century printing of the Gospels in the African language Grebo. There are Korans, with pages that shimmer with gold leaf and elegant calligraphy, and a 13th-century Pentateuch from Jerusalem, written in script used by Samaritans who traced their origins to the ancient Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The library’s Gutenberg Bible is here, as well as its 1611 King James translation. The first Koran published in English is shown, from 1649, along with fantastical images from 16th-century Turkish and Persian manuscripts in which Muhammad is pictured with other prophets, his face a blank white space in obeisance to the prohibition against his portrait.

Out of many, one. That could well be the motto of this ambitious exhibition. It focuses on “the three Abrahamic religions” — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One of the main sponsors of “Three Faiths,” is the Coexist Foundation, whose aim is “to promote better understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims.” (The other main donor is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.) The display is on view through Feb. 27 at the New York Public Library.

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Before There Was Betty Crocker...

...there were a number of notable cookbooks; those extant are pictured on the pages of the today's blog entry at Booktryst.

In 1474 the Italian humanist Bartolomeo Platina (1421-1481) compiled and published in Rome the first printed and dated cookbook, De honesta voluptate et valetudine, Libri de arte coquinaria, haute cuisine, Libro novo (Of Honorable Pleasure and Health), a monument to medieval and Renaissance cuisine. In Latin, it was reprinted in many subsequent editions, and translated into Italian, German, and French (it was a best-seller in Paris). In 1475 Platina was named Vatican librarian by Pope Sixtus IV.

Eleven years later, in 1486, Küchenmeisterei (Cooking Mastery), a book sometimes and erroneously attributed to Gutenberg (out of business since the late 1450s, his print shop taken over by his financial partner, Johann Fust, after a lawsuit in 1455), was published by Peter Wagner (f. 1483-1500) in Nuremberg.

See more at Booktryst.

Another Kind of Ephemera...Bookplates

The latest posting on Confessions Of A Bookplate Junkie (Lewis Jaffe, who has been a collector for thirty years).

What Is To Become of Kafka's Manuscripts? Kafka's Last Trial

A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. Lengthy (ten page) history and explanation of all the players in the disposition of the works of Franz Kafka; article by Elif Batuman in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

A Look Back at the History of Print and Publishing (or It's Always Been a Tough Business)

Change of pace from the more frequent 'death of print' stories here on LISNews.

This one's about the birth of print; a discussion of the newly published book by Andrew Pettegree, "The Book in the Renaissance" with Tom Scocca of Slate and the Boston Globe.

In the beginning, before there was such a thing as a Gutenberg Bible, Johannes Gutenberg laid out his rows of metal type and brushed them with ink and, using the mechanism that would change the world, produced an ordinary little schoolbook. It was probably an edition of a fourth-century grammar text by Aelius Donatus, some 28 pages long. Only a few fragments of the printed sheets survive, because no one thought the book was worth keeping.

“Now had he kept to that, doing grammars...it probably would all have been well,” said Andrew Pettegree, a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews and author of “The Book in the Renaissance,” the story of the birth of print. Instead, Gutenberg was bent on making a grand statement, an edition of Scripture that would cost half as much as a house and would live through the ages. In the end, struggling for capital to support the Bible project, Gutenberg was forced out of his own print shop by his business partner, Johann Fust.

The article continues in a question and answer format here.

Original Nuremberg Laws To Be Transfered to National Archives

From The Washington Post: The National Archives said Tuesday that a California library is transferring to the Archives the two original sets of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazis' spare, anti-Semitic manifesto endorsed by Adolf Hitler that helped lead to the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

The laws are being transferred by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, where they have been held since they were placed there by Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in 1945.

Gen. Patton presents the infamous laws to Huntington chairman Robert A. Millikan in 1945.

Each set of the 1935 laws is typed on four pieces of paper, said Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. One set is believed to have been signed by Hitler.

One section, the so-called "laws for the protection of German blood and German honor," forbade such things as marriages between Jews and Germans, and extramarital relations between Jews and "subjects of the state of Germany."

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

60 Minutes had a piece last night on The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. If you skip to 8:45 in the video they show the library and librarian of the church. Interesting to see a library with so much history.

Kafka Experts Will Have to Keep Waiting...

If it were any other writer, today's unfolding of events in an anonymous bank vault in Zurich would be described as Kafkaesque. But the latest twist in a legal battle over the estate of Franz Kafka probably deserves some other adjective.

Four deposit boxes were pried open. Inside were manuscripts, drawings and letters from the Czech writer that had been locked away for more than 50 years, as Kafka experts around the world waited with baited breath. But the expectant Kafka enthusiasts, historians and critics will have to wait longer, after two Israeli sisters who insist they own the papers by inheritance from their mother banned all reporting of the boxes' contents.

They were opened on the orders of Talia Koppelman, a judge from the Tel Aviv family court. Last week she also ordered the opening of six safety deposit boxes in Israeli banks containing other Kafka works.

Today's unlocking at Zurich's UBS bank of safes sealed since 1956 was attended by lawyers representing, on one side, Eve and Ruth Hoffe and the German literature archive, and, on the other, the state of Israel and its national library.

Update from Guardian UK and some background on the case .

The Greatest Unknown Literary Treasure in Los Angeles

...might be The Clark Library. Many feel this way when they discover the rare-book library, which is run by UCLA but located in Jefferson Park. Brick walls hide it from passersby, and most undergraduates have never heard of it. But those who know the library say it is unmatched and unforgettable.

Many details of the library reflect the younger Clark's personal style and history. The bookcases in the reading rooms include copper mined by his family. Clark, who loved chamber music and founded the L.A. Philharmonic, had the drawing room designed to hold concerts.

Clark's taste gave the building and its five-acre grounds a unique charm that remains today. Original furniture manufactured in 1920s Pasadena stands in the reading rooms, and a grand piano occupies the drawing room.

Clark's influence also appears in the books themselves. Experts say his foresight is a major reason the library continues to stand out. Instead of hunting the most sought-after Elizabethan texts, he focused on later writers such as John Dryden and Oscar Wilde.

Clark librarians run a blog called 'The Clog', which in its latest installment, informs us that the dearly departed Mr. Clark can now be found on facebook.

LA Times reports.

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