News today that the Jewish National and University Library has made high definition digital images of all the pages of a 14th-century prayerbook, the Mahzor Nuremberg, available for viewing online. This codex is notable not only for its fine calligraphy and unique marginal commentaries, but also for its large size (50 x 37 cm, 1042 pages).
This news reminds me again of one of the remarkable benefits of the internet revolution that has made possible direct access, freely and world-wide, to one-of-a-kind texts. A leader in this field has been the British Library, whose Turning the Pages website offers complete views of more than a dozen works, including the Golden Haggadah, Baybar's Qur'an, and the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)