This is very, very exciting! A Greek monastery at Leimonos, on the island of Lesbos, has put 108 of its manuscript collection online! And … better yet … it has done so in PDF form. You can download the things, which is what we all want to do. To access it, go to its Digital Library and click on ‘manuscripts’ and then on ‘Patristic’.
This is wonderful! I am so excited! It makes the fussy, over-complicated, under-usuable projects of places like the British Library look sick. I guarantee that the Leimonos manuscripts will get studied more than any other manuscripts in history, over the next few years! Because access is all. If you’re teaching people about mss, what are you going to use? You’ll use the Leimonos mss.
I saw the announcement at Evangelical Textual Criticism, where they list some of the bible manuscripts online. But of course we’re interested in much more exciting things! And if you click on “more…” under each ms., you get a catalogue of contents for each volume.
The patristic manuscripts include homilies by Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen, Ephraem the Syrian, the Ladder of John Climacus, and much more. There’s a catena on psalms 1-71, for instance.
The various manuscripts include the Physica of Aristotle, Barlaam and Joasaph, and Cyril of Alexandria’s Lexicon.
The most interesting part of this is the miscellaneous manuscripts, which could contain anything. You’d never order a microfilm of one of these — but now you can browse, have a hunt, see what you can find. Treasures are bound to be discovered!
Nor is the library just manuscripts. There are the archives, and there are PDF’s of early printed books.