A bequest left to Columbia Libraries by Woodbridge Professor Emeritus of Philosophy Paul Oskar Kristeller (1905-99), the world's leading historian of Renaissance philosophy, has made possible the purchase of a 16th century lectionary and the start of the "Kristeller Occasional Lecture in Western Cultural History Before 1800." The inaugural Kristeller lecture, "Compassion and Terror" by ethicist Martha Nussbaum was held at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America on Tuesday, April 2.
It was Kristeller's wish that a gift go in support the acquisition of books and other publications, such as manuscripts and microfilms, relating to Western Cultural History before 1800 and to sponsor occasional lectures in western culture. This April's inaugural Kristeller lecture and the first public viewing of a Kristeller acquisition in the upcoming Rare Book Manuscript Library's liturgical exhibition celebrate Kristeller's contributions to Columbia and the fields of History and Philosophy.
"Paul Oskar Kristeller was one of the great figures of 20th century scholarship," said Gene Rice, F. WM R Shepherd Professor Emeritus, History. "He made decisive contributions to several fields, notably, the history of philosophy and the study of Italian Renaissance manuscripts.
The scholarly tools he produced will remain a permanent resource for generations to come."
The 16th century lectionary purchased with Kristeller funds is part of the collection of medieval manuscripts at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and will be on view (6th floor, Butler Library), during the exhibition "Celebrating Liturgy's Books: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New York City," April 4 through June 28.