From Mrs Katie Flanagan
Sir, - I write as Chair of the Historic Libraries Forum to
express our grave concern about the proposed sale of the Codex
3 January). Although there is a fund-raising campaign under way
by Cambridge University Library to buy the Codex, there is no
guarantee that this will be raised in time, and the risk is that
the codex will be lost into private ownership.
The Bible Society's collections are an incredibly important
resource for Bible scholarship. By their size and linguistic
spread, they form what must be one of the most complete collections
on this subject. Although individual items within the collection
are valuable, such as the Codex Zacynthius, the value in
collections such as this is in their whole, andit is vital that
items are not removed.
We are concerned that this may be the tip of the iceberg, and
that this proposed sale will be followed by further sales from the
Society's treasures, thus depleting the collection further. Many
items from the collection are deeply significant for the history of
the Bible in this country, including rare early copies of Tyndale's
translations and books with an early English provenance.
We note that the Society's disposal policy states that
occasion-ally uncatalogued duplicate materials or items that are
not a core part of the historic Bible collection are sold, and that
the proceeds are used for the enhancement of the collection. The
Codex Zacynthius and other manuscripts would appear to be a core
part of the collection, and the proceeds are clearly not intended
for use to enhance and care for the existing collections.
There is now a huge public appetite for historic manuscripts and
the stories that they can tell. If they are removed from the public
domain, they will be lost to the researchers of the future.
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