Canonical sequence of major project
A series of facsimile editions of Frantsisk Skorina’s works are being released between 2013 and 2017. The first volume was recently launched at the National Library of Belarus, near which stands a monument to the great enlightener, welcoming guests.
By Lyudmila Ivanova
The Deputy Director of the National Library for Research Work and Publishing Activity, Alexander Susha, tells us, “All in all, we plan to print 21 volumes, reproducing books published by the first Belarusian and Eastern Slavic printer, in Prague and Vilnius. Until 2017, we’ll be releasing them to the world with scientific commentaries, including translations of Skorina’s original texts into Belarusian, Russian and English. In 2017, Minsk hopes to be named World Book Capital, so this project is fitting. It’s already awakening interest in the brightest Belarusian Renaissance cultural figure.”
Mr. Susha admits that the library has taken its time to launch this complex project, saying, “It’s extremely complicated, both from a scientific and printing standpoint, so we’re liaising with foreign colleagues — primarily from Russia, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania — to attain the highest digital quality. The first in the series will be The Book of Genesis. Skorina printed the Bible in accordance with the requirements of his time, when the most popular section of the Bible was The Book of Psalms; he released it first, despite Genesis being the first in the canonical sequence (in which Skorina placed the front page for the whole Bible). Accordingly, we’re publishing our volume in the same way.”
The debut volume will be printed in the same way as the original, which is held by the Upper Lusatian Scientific Library in Germany. Five books are to be released through 2014, in collaboration with BelVEB Bank and the National Library of Belarus. These will be released in large numbers, so that editions may be distributed in Belarus and abroad, free of charge.