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Lincoln College

Past Events

Friday 24- Saturday 25 November 2017

Two Hundred Years of Italian Manuscripts in Oxford. Exploring the Canonici Collection

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries & Lincoln College

Amongst the Bodleian’s rich holdings of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, the number from Italy is second only to those from the British Isles. This is due chiefly to the collection of one man, the Venetian Jesuit Matteo Luigi Canonici (1727-1805/6), who devoted himself to collecting after the suppression of the order in parts of Italy in 1773. After his death the collection passed eventually to Giovanni Perisinotti, who sold over 2,000 manuscripts to the Bodleian in 1817. 

Canonici’s manuscripts range from Latin and Greek classical literature to biblical, liturgical and patristic texts, from medieval vernacular literature to philosophical texts, to medical treatises and to Humanistic literature.

To celebrate the bicentenary of the arrival of the Canonici collection from Venice, a two-day international conference, accompanied by a small display of manuscripts, was held in Oxford on 24-25 November 2017. 

The programme can be downloaded here.


Tuesday 23 May 2017

John Wesley, Heterodoxy and Dissent - a lecture by Professor Grayson Ditchfield.

Although John Wesley’s attacks on Calvinism (especially after 1770) are probably the best-known of the doctrinal controversies in which he was involved, he was equally determined to counter heterodoxy – within the Church of England and among the Protestant dissenting denominations. With the decline of deism, at least in more educated circles, from the middle years of the eighteenth century Wesley turned his attention to defences of the doctrine of original sin and of the doctrine of the Trinity. In 1757 he devoted a 500-page tract to the refutation of John Taylor’s denial of original sin, in which he described that denial as `far more dangerous than open Deism itself’, adding `I dare not be silent any longer … is it not time then for the very stones to cry out?’ Wesley always treated the scholarly Presbyterian minister Taylor (1694-1761) with personal respect, and indeed declared Taylor’s Octagon Chapel in Norwich, opened in 1756, to be one of the finest dissenting meeting-houses he had ever seen. But he regarded Taylor’s theology as dangerously subversive of biblical Christianity, and especially of the doctrine of the atonement. From the 1770s, moreover, Wesley and his followers were increasingly disturbed by high-profile evidence of non- or anti-Trinitarianism among the English Presbyterians and General Baptists. And while Wesley himself clashed with orthodox (Trinitarian) dissenters (notably Caleb Evans) over the conflict with the American colonies, he came to regard the heterodox (anti-Trinitarian) dissent of Joseph Priestley and his co-religionists as the more threatening. The lecture examined Wesley’s responses to these forms of heterodoxy, and the ways in which his and other responses helped to stimulate reassertions and re-definitions of orthodoxy as perceived by Wesley and early Methodists. 

Grayson Ditchfield, from 2014 Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Kent, Canterbury, is a specialist in the religious and political history of eighteenth-century Britain. He is author of The Evangelical Revival (1998), George III. An essay in monarchy (2002), and has published extensively on religious issues in Parliament, anti-slavery, the origins of Unitarianism in Britain, and the later eighteenth-century House of Lords. He is editor of The Letters of Theophilus Lindsey 1747-1808 (2 volumes, Church of England Record Society, 2007-2012), and is currently preparing an edition of the correspondence of the controversial Latitudinarian writer Francis Blackburne (1705-1787), archdeacon of Cleveland.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Lincoln College and its Episcopal Visitors, 1540-1700

This talk in the Lincoln Unlocked series considered the role and significance of the Bishops of Lincoln between around 1550 and 1700 as Visitors of the College.  It drew attention to the nature of the archives that pertain to this relatively unconsidered role in Oxford politics, highlighted the importance of the Bishops of Lincoln of this period as Visitors of not just one, but four Oxford colleges, and placed their work in context post-Reformation, pre-Civil War and post-Restoration.  Certain bishops, like John Williams, stand out for the significant part they played in the life of the College, but others too deserve mention, together with the circumstances in which they were called into action.  The term 'Visitor' might suggest some power and responsibility, yet it is perhaps typical of Oxford that the role was carefully circumscribed in practice.

Dr Andrew Foster FRHistS, FSA, FHA is an ecclesiastical historian who has written numerous articles on bishops, cathedrals, clergy, parishes and churchwardens of early modern England.  He is a long-standing Literary Director of the Sussex Record Society and has served on the national Councils of the Royal Historical Society and the Historical Association.  He is currently completing a volume on church surveys of the early seventeenth century for the SRS, a major two-volume history of the dioceses of England and Wales, 1540-1700, and editing the correspondence of Archbishop Richard Neile for the Church of England Record Society. Andrew is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Kent.


Tuesday 16 May 2017

Hebrew Exhibition

Two of Lincoln College’s Rectors, Richard Kilbye and Thomas Marshall, were among the foremost Christian Hebraists of their time. As a result of their scholarly interests, Lincoln has an unusually rich collection of Hebrew material from the 16th and 17th centuries, from dictionaries and grammars, Bibles, rabbinic literature and prayer books to scientific tractates, often annotated and beautifully bound. To mark Oxford Jewish Cultural week, a selection of these early printed books were on display.

Lincoln College was the first Oxbridge College to elect a professing Jew to a Fellowship. The Samuel Alexander was elected Fellow in Philosophy in 1882 and awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 1918. Material relating to Alexander was also on display.


Wednesday 23 November 2016

Richard Kilbye (1560/1–1620): Lincoln College's first great collector and reader of Hebrew books - A Lincoln Unlocked Lecture by Professor Joanna Weinberg (Professor of Early Modern Jewish History and Rabbinics at Oxford)

Richard Kilbye, Rector of Lincoln College and Regius Professor of Hebrew, was a member of the first Oxford Company commissioned to translate the major and minor prophets for the King James Bible and an exceptional student of the Hebrew language and its literature. In this talk Professor Weinberg showed how Kilbye collected and annotated his books and that he studied Hebrew with a Jew. She also demonstrated how his explorations of biblical and particularly Jewish exegetical traditions show this remarkable scholar, translator, and commentator to have been one of the exceptional readers of Jewish texts in early seventeenth-century England.  


September 2016

‘The Unskilled Scribe: Elementary hands and their place in the history of handwriting’ - a seminar in the ‘Ecritures cursives’ series, sponsored jointly by Lincoln, the Bodleian, and APICES (September 2016).


Wednesday 13 - Friday 15 July 2016

History of Libraries Summer School - The Application of the Digital Humanities to the Transmission, Preservation, and Dispersal of the European Written Heritage between the 15th and 16th Centuries

A Summer School held at Lincoln College for specialist librarians and scholars, interested in the medieval and the early modern period, as well as in manuscripts and in printed books.The Summer School included five library visits (Merton, Weston, Lincoln, and All Souls College Libraries; Bodleian Library), ten lectures, and eleven hours of workshops on primary sources and specialist databases. 


Wednesday 2 March 2016

College Library and Local History: The William Vesey Bequest (1755) and the Veseys of Oxfordshire - Professor Peter McCullough (Sohmer Fellow, Professor in English, Fellow Archivist).

In 1755, after 52 years as a Fellow of Lincoln, William Vesey bequeathed over a thousand books to the College library; among them are many inscribed by members of his family. Prof. McCullough's efforts to learn more about the owners of these books has grown into a study of five generations of the Vesey family, an ambitious but ill-starred Oxfordshire clan who tried to raise themselves from yeomanry to gentry by means both fair and foul. Prof McCullough will show how an historic College collection like Lincoln's Senior Library can be a resource and prompt not just for book history, but also for local history, in this case, a varied tale of ambition, greed, charity, learning, and loss in Oxfordshire's Bampton Hundred, ca. 1600-1750, including the first detailed account of Robert Vesey's 1635 foundation of Bampton Free Grammar School, subject of recent popular attention for its cameo role as Downton Cottage Hospital in Downton Abbey.

Image: 1843 engraving of the Veysey grammar school in Bampton 


Wednesday 25 November 2015

The Art of Discovery: Sir Walter Oakeshott - A talk by H.R. Woudhuysen (Rector of Lincoln College)
Throughout his life, Sir Walter Oakeshott (1903-87) bought books, maps, and manuscripts; interested himself in libraries and their contents; and published the fruits of his research, often based on material that he had himself acquired, in books and articles. This talk will give an account of Oakeshott as a collector and of his many discoveries.


Tuesday 24 November 2015

“Understanding and describing historic bookbindings” – a one-day training workshop for Oxford antiquarian cataloguers (or we could say library professionals) held by Professor Nicholas Pickwoad and Dr Athansios Velios from the Ligatus research centre (part of the University of the Arts, London).  


November 2014

Unlocked the Senior Library: Astrophysics

Towards the end of the Michaelmas term, as part of our “Unlocking the Senior Library” series, the Senior Library opened its doors to a group of Oxford astrophysicists interested in exploring material in our collection that related to their fields of study. It was with some trepidation that I set about choosing books from the historic collections that might be relevant to a group representing a range of specialities, from exoplanetary science to the evolution of galaxies, very much outside my area of expertise. Aristotle, Opera (Basel, 1539).

The final selection included 16th century editions of the works of some of the earliest Greek and Arab astronomers, from an Aldine edition of Simplicius’ commentary on Aristotle’s De coelo (Venice, 1526) to editions of Ptolomy’s Almagest (Basel, 1538) and Abu al-Hasan's De iudiciis astrorum (Basel, 1551). One of the treasures of the Senior Library is a copy of Erasmus' edition of Aristotle's works (Basel, 1539) in which one section, the Physics, is heavily annotated in Greek by a 16th century reader. Cassini, Abrege des observations (Paris, 1681).

We moved on to the 17th century with two important first editions: Kepler’s Tabulae Rudolphinae (Ulm, 1627) and Hevelius’ Selenographia (Gdansk, 1647), the first complete lunar atlas and a landmark in lunar topography. We also looked at editions of works on comets by Cassini and Halley and, of course, Newton's Principia (the second edition). We ended with a run of printed volumes of astronomical observations made at the Radcliffe Observatory from the first half of the 19th century.

Interdisciplinary encounters can sometimes feel like ships passing in the night. This was the opposite, with genuine engagement on both sides. I gained a new appreciation of the intellectual context of the books we looked at, and conversely I believe our guests enjoyed seeing familiar topics in historical context. For me at least it was one of the highlights of 2014.
Dr Sarah Cusk is the antiquarian cataloguer at Lincoln, cataloguing the early printed books in the Senior Library.
With thanks to Vinesh Rajpaul for his photographs of the event.