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Caesarea Maritima (Israel)...Theological Library

Date of Origin: Caesarea Maritima (Greek: παράλιος Καισάρεια), called Caesarea Palaestina from 133 AD onwards, was a city and harbor built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BC.

Date of Destruction:The collections of the library suffered during the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, but were repaired subsequently by bishops of Caesarea...Destroyed by the Arabs in the 7th century.

Size: 30,000 volumes
source: Theological Library of Caesarea Maritima (Wikipedia)
" the 200's, there was a Christian library at Caesarea, based upon the libraries of Origen and Pamphilus, which is known to have contained many pagan philosophical and classical texts, and which was used extensively by Eusebius."
source: A Christian Thinktank
The Theological Library of Caesarea Maritima was the library of the Christians of Caesarea Maritima in Palestine in early times.
source: Theological Library of Caesarea (Wikipedia)
Through Origen and especially the scholarly presbyter Pamphilus of Caesarea, an avid collector of books of Scripture, the theological school of Caesarea won a reputation for having the most extensive ecclesiastical library of the time, containing more than 30,000 manuscripts: Gregory Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Jerome and others came to study there. The Caesarean text-type is recognized by scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types.
Origen, an avid collector of Christian books helped create the Library of Caesarea containing more than 30,000 manuscripts.
St Pamphilus devoted his life to searching out and obtaining ancient texts which he collected in the famous library that Jerome was later to use, and established a school for theological study. In the scriptorium, a necessary adjunct to all libraries of antiquity, he oversaw the production of accurate edited copies of Scripture. Testimonies to his zeal and care in this work are to be found in the colophons of biblical manuscripts. Jerome's "De Viris Illustribus" (75) says that Pamphilus "transcribed the greater part of the works of Origen of Alexandria with his own hand," and that "these are still preserved in the library of Cæsarea."

Among other priceless lost treasures in the library, was the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Jerome knew of this copy of the so-called "Hebrew" or Aramaic text of the Gospel of Matthew and Eusebius refers to the catalogue of the library that he appended to his life of Pamphilus. A passage from the lost life, quoted by Jerome, describes how Pamphilus supplied poor scholars with the necessaries of life, and, not merely lent, but gave them copies of the Scriptures, of which he kept a large supply. He likewise bestowed copies on women devoted to study. The great treasure of the library at Caesarea was Origen's own copy of the "Hexapla," probably the only complete copy ever made. It was consulted by Jerome. St Pamphilus was martyred in February, 309.

The collections of the library suffered during the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, but were repaired subsequently by bishops of Caesarea. It was noted in the 6th century, but Henry Barclay Swete was of the opinion that it probably did not long survive the capture of Caesarea by the Saracens in 638, and this scholarly consensus is echoed by more modern historians: the “large library [30,000 vols in A.D. 630 {O’Connor 1980:161}] survived at Caesarea until destroyed by the Arabs in the 7th cent.”
source: Wikipedia--accessed23sep10
p. 121 [footnotes omitted]
By far the greatest importance for all of Christian Antiquity was achieved by the library which Origen himself founded at Caesarea, where from his definite expulsion from Alexandria (231) to the end of his life (about 253) he worked as a teacher and scholar.... Its basic holdings consisted of Origen's own writings and that edition of the Old Testament worked out by him in six (Hebrew and Greek) parallel columns (the Hexpla, and the abridged form of it, the Tetrapla). However, the systematic teaching activity, introduced by him in Caesarea according to the exemplary model
p. 121
of Alexandria, presupposes the presence of rich and varied holdings in Church literature as well as in profane literature. The school and library appear to have been orphaned after the death of their founder, until the presbyter Pamphilus, who likewise had received his training at Alexandria, brought to both a fresh life and vigor. He worked so earnestly and with such success at the renovation of the library that later he was credited with its foundation. Quite especially did he supplement and restore (in part by personal copy of them) the works of Origen. Besides, he obtained a collection as complete as possible of the works of other Church writers as well as the profane writers indispensible for any theologian in the Alexandrian sense. Philo was there as good as complete; Plotinus very likely in the edition by Eustochius. Pampilus also prepared the catalog of the library, which Eusebius had published in his lost biography of his older friend. Isidore of Seville is indebted to this catalog for the statement that it contained 30,000 rolls.

The library of Caesarea, which was preserved during the great persecution though its restorer had to suffer martyrdom (310), has gained for Christian literature a similar importance as the Alexandrian Museum for the classics: systematically - and therefore to a far larger extent than any other community library - it preserved the older Christian writings, upon which Eusebius - since 313 Bishop of Caesarea, but long before active in the city - could construct his history of the Church. Thereby it gave to all later generations, at least in extracts the knowledge of the largely lost literature of the first centuries.

Of far-reaching importance yet was the preservation of the gigantic
works in textual criticism of Origen, from which Pamphilus and Eusebius extracted the text of the Septuagint in order to have it reproduced in the scriptorium of the library in numerous editions, each carefully checked and corrected by themselves personally then promulgated. Since it has been considered the best recommendation for any Septuagint manuscript to have been copied and compared with the handwritten text called from the Hexapla and Tetrapla of Origen by Pamphilus and Eusebius.

Also the New-Testament manuscripts which came from the scriptorium of Caesarea were valued so highly, that their origin was marked down in special appended notes. Vouching for an extensive juridical collection is the fact that later bishop of Cappadocia, Gregory Thaumaturgus, about 233-238 could institute a full five-year course of law study.

Around the middle of the fourth century it became evident that the well-used, deteriorating papyrus rolls of the library would have to be replaced by parchment codices. This tremendous task was accomplished under the leadership of the next two successors of Eusebius to the episcopal office, Acacius (340 to about 365) and Enzoius (about 366-356), must have been working in this library. It is their merit to have made Origen's exegesis of the Psalms accessible to the Church of the West by their Latin Commentaries. As the most diligent user of this library, however, no one surpasses Jerome, Father of the Church, who even from the Syrian desert seems to have had connections with it. Most certainly after he had settled in Bethlehem
p. 124
(386) was he a frequent visitor to it. Of the further fate of the library we have no more reports.

source: Translation of Chapter II of Milkau-Leyh, HANDBUCH DER BIBLIOTHEKSWISSENSCHAFT, Vol. III, Part 1: History of Libraries (2nd ed. rev. & extended; Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1955)
Constantinople (Turkey)...The Imperial Library
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