Preserving the World’s Historic Written Cultures
Father Columba’s presentation will include stories and images that chronicle how the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library is continuing the Benedictine legacy of preserving endangered ancient Christian manuscripts–with a modern technological touch.
Father Columba Stewart, OSB, has been the executive director of The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) since 2003. A native of Texas, Father Columba received his A.B. in History and Literature from Harvard College, an M.A. in Religious Studies from Yale University, and his D. Phil. in Theology from the University of Oxford. He is a professor of Theology at the Saint John’s School of Theology, and has published extensively on monastic topics at both popular and scholarly levels, including Prayer and Community: the Benedictine Tradition and Cassian the Monk.
Father Columba has developed HMML’s extensive manuscript digitization initiative in historic Christian communities in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia. His journeys have led to his identifying spectacular ancient manuscript collections that contain the historical legacies, languages and traditions of numerous civilizations. These are collections that are at-risk of being lost, stolen or destroyed. Father Columba’s mission is to ensure that they are digitally preserved. He has earned acceptance and trust from many Eastern Christian communities, who know him both as a modern Benedictine monk and as a recognized expert on the history of early Christianity and monasticism.
HMML and Father Columba have been featured on America Public Media’s weekly radio program, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett and PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Economist and PBS’s NewsHour program. HMML is the home of the world's largest collection of manuscript images (more than 115,000 complete manuscripts, totaling some 35,000,000 pages), and of The Saint John's Bible, a contemporary handwritten, illuminated Bible in English.
This event is cosponsored by the ASU Melikian Center and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS).