The DBI library is primarily biblical, with special emphasis on biblical research...
The DBI library is primarily focussed on biblical research, with particular inerest in the manuscripts and transmission of the Old and New Testaments. It is now a unique resource for biblical studies provided by the Irish Dominican Province for the benefit and use of this region of Ireland. We encourage all to explore it. Library books can be read on the premises by prior arrangement. These arrangements are easy to make, by email (admin@dbil) or telephone (087 2659267).
The main library is a reference library, not a lending library. Because it is not a lending library, its value is increased by the fact that all of the works it contains are available all the time on the spot.
It has a good modern collection of commentaries on each of the books of the Bible, with a minor ancillary collection of primary Greek, and Latin classical texts, with several editions and translations of the Talmud and associated literature.
We are developing our library holdings in the areas of less specifically scripture subjects that are included in the Diploma programme. From October 2013, copies of core course books are made available for short term loan. If you have books that you used in former years of the programme and would like to make them available to current students, they could be included in this multiple copy library for short term loans.
The library started in 2000 with two books:
• A facsimile of Codex Vaticanus, bought as a gift by the Irish Dominican Province.
• Great Women of The Bible in Art & Literature (since withdrawn, with permission, by the donor).
Purchases and donations have brought the library holdings to 12,000 volumes. This small but very focussed collection is housed in a fine high bright room, which also serves as the main auditorium for classes, and public lectures with audiences up to 90. Several seminar rooms open off the main library. Pleasant individual Irish oak working desks welcome researchers, who have access to internet and the electronic library catalogue. Local coffee shops make a day’s work lighter.
From 2001 the library subscribed to over 100 journals, and and also tried to build its collection of back issues. For financial reasons, and in the context of new on-line publishing initiatives, a policy change was made in 2013 and all hard copy journals subscriptions were cancelled, subject to review. Selected subscriptions will be resumed. The library has significant holdings of periodicals published by Dominican institutes, and other substantial series of periodicals in the area of biblical studies. Recently we received a donation of a complete 55-year set of The Tablet, covering the second Vatican Council and its aftermath. This gift was made by the executor of the late John and Ann Boland of Dublin, in their memory.
Most of the periodical holdings of the library are on open access in the main reading room, others are held in reserve.
The reference section is slowly expanding and has been greatly enhanced over the years by substantial gifts, such as the 15-volume Encyclopedia of Religion. (This was a gift from Ursula King, Professor Emerita of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol, where she held the Chair of Theology and Religious Studies from 1989-2002). Dr John Eaton also gave his private collection after his retirement from the University of Birmingham, where the present director, Gerard Norton, was his successor.
HOLDINGS OF PARTICULARNOTE:
The most nationally and internationally significant holdings of the library are in the area of the history of the text of the Old and New Testaments. These holdings assemble perhaps the strongest resource in Ireland for those who wish to study the way in which the text has been handed down to us. It includes an almost complete collection of the standard critical editions (diplomatic and eclectic) of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek biblical texts as well as Syriac, Latin, and other ancient versions.
In addition to the editions, the student will find here facsimile editions of the ancient manuscripts, enabling first-hand study of the sources. This is perhaps the only library outside Dublin to have extensive holdings in the original publications of the Dead Sea Scrolls and allied literature.
A broad range of language reference works, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, lexica, concordances, and grammars relating to ancient languages from Ethiopic to Ugaritic to Armenian, Aramaic, and Coptic as well as the more predictable Syriac, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. The student will also find dictionaries of contemporary European languages, including Arabic and modern Hebrew.
Holdings of secondary literature in many of these areas are weak, a consequence of the Dominican tradition of studying primary texts by choice. These secondary materials, some of them quite ephemeral are available elsewhere.
The Dominican Biblical Institute is happy to welcome visiting researchers or scholars to wish to work with these sources in the context of research work for other institutes or universities. Gerard Norton op, director of the DBI, is a general editor of the Biblia Hebraica Quinta project of the German Bible Society, with particular responsibility for the Book of Psalms. Given the links between the manuscript tradition of the Psalms and of the New Testament, he is well situated to guide visiting researchers in the area.
The library catalogue is complete, with the important exception of manuscripts and lexica, for security reasons. People who wish to study a particular work are welcome to telephone in advance to confirm availability. The catalogue is not at the moment on open access online, but we hope that it will soon be available for remote access.
It is fair to say that while the library is of benefit to all who are interested in the Bible and its constituent books, the golden core of its holdings has been built up by donations (not purchases) since 2004 and relates to the solid study of the transmission of the text. Unfortunately, until recently this solid basis of the DBI library has been eclipsed by other individual agenda at the DBI. We regret any academic scandal, or damage to the faith of the Catholic Church it may have caused.
The study of the history of the text enabled by the resources at the library is central to the next phase of the DBI. We hope that researchers and scholars in the region and throughout Ireland will discover these assets. We hope too that the general public in the Dominican church in Limerick, as well as the students of the three year Bible and Theology course, as well as those who attend our evening lectures, will begin to appreciate the texture and the solidity of the manuscripts that transmit the reality of the love of God for us expressed in the Incarnation and life, death and resurrection of Jesus, son of Mary.
Among the peripheral collections of the library is a special collection of travellers' accounts of journeying through the Holy Land, and some early and rare archaeological reports. (A gift).