The first issue of the Vatican Library Review (VLR), the Vatican Apostolic Library’s new academic journal, has been published by “Brill”. The following is an excerpt of an editorial by Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Librarian of the Holy Roman Church.
The Vatican Library has always been a place of research and an active host for collaboration. Since its beginnings as an organised institution in the 1450s, the Library has sought to fulfil a challenging double mission: to conserve its continuously growing number of treasures and to share this heritage with the academic world. Pope Leo xiii ’s decision to open more widely the doors of the Vatican Library and the Archive in 1878 catalysed international humanistic scholarship in Rome: many nations competed to establish their own scholarly institutions in Rome to facilitate their scholars’ investigations into the unique documents of the Library and the Vatican Archive.
Since then, the Library’s institutional structure has guaranteed access to scholars with diverse expertise from all over the world aiming to reap new grains of knowledge from among its precious materials. The Library’s highly qualified staff, familiar with the collections, assists and collaborates in this harvest. This dynamic also extends to the Library’s editorial activity. In 1900 the Library launched the series Studi e testi in this spirit to provide a place for book-length studies examining the Library’s holdings. Within its framework, Leonard Boyle, O.P., initiated the creation of a periodically published collection of curated articles. In 1987, the Miscellanea Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae appeared which has now run to 27 volumes within the series Studi e testi: Marco Buonocore animated 25 massive volumes published annually and paved the way towards the Library sponsoring a proper journal.
The Vatican Library Review (VLR) marks a further step in this venerable tradition in several ways. It continues the Library’s active engagement in generating and sharing knowledge, especially in textual, artistic and codicological analysis. More than this, the VLR seeks innovative scholarly contributions that are not limited by an individual discipline or convention and that display the knowledge that each scholar brings. Accordingly, it accepts comprehensive essays that concisely examine cultural practices across time and space and the technologies that accompanied their creation or now facilitate their study. The VLR aspires to be an attractive place to publish high-quality, peer-reviewed research by actively hosting and allocating contributions. The Library’s staff, the editors, and the scientific board provide their perspective overlooking the materials, the collections and the activity of its readers. The VLR especially welcomes short contributions from early-career scholars in which they share their discoveries, new ideas and inspirations they have found in the Library. It also publishes brief presentations of ongoing research or conferences, as well as review articles on books. An international cohort of experts guarantees the high quality of the publications. It is my hope that readers of the VLR will engage with each article regardless of individual interest. I ask you to join us in this two-fold endeavour of scientific rigour and cross-cultural dialogue. We look forward to receiving your contributions.