Ex libris: The Rare Book Collection of Jean Heck, Ph.D., Haub School of Business

Ex libris: The Rare Book Collection of Jean HeckEx libris: The Rare Book Collection of Jean Heck, Ph.D., Haub School of Business

Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., Special Collection Rooms (3rd Floor)
John and Maryanne Hennings Post Learning Commons

Jean Heck, Ph.D., the Brian Duperreault ’69 Chair for Risk Management and Insurance in the Haub School of Business, is an avid bibliophile and collector of rare books. This exhibit features a number of books from Dr. Heck’s collection. While most of these books are from the early modern period (1500 until the French Revolution [1789]), some are from earlier or later periods. In the former category is an incunabulum of  St. Jerome’s commentary on St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Venice, 1498) and in the latter, a handsome Jesuit atlas of 1900.

The books in this exhibition are divided into four thematic sections. First, there are the sacred texts of Judaism and Islam: a Torah scroll on sheepskin of c. 1500, and the first English translation of the Koran directly from Arabic (1734). Next, are several Christian Bibles:

· the 1579 Louvain edition of the Vulgate (the late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible prepared by St. Jerome [c. 342-420])

· the 1639 edition of the King James Bible—a seminal work that influenced innumerable writers and thinkers, including Lincoln, Melville, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among many others

· Richard Challoner’s version of the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, which took as its base text the King James Bible.

The third thematic grouping focuses on key texts of the early modern Catholic renewal and Protestant Reformation. Here is seen a volume of Martin Luther’s complete works (Wittenberg, 1561), the decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-63) and the post-Tridentine edition of the Code of Canon Law, and the 1540 version of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and the briefer Rules of the Society of Jesus.

The final section is devoted to the history and ministry of the Jesuits:

· its missionary activity (a 16th-century stone glyph from a Jesuit reduction in Peru, a Jesuit atlas that documents—with polychrome maps—Jesuit provinces and missions worldwide, and a volume of late 18th-century letters from Jesuit missionaries in India)

· examples of the primacy Jesuits gave to the “word,” be it written, spoken, or printed (notably, an extremely rare copy of the Italian translation of Pedro de Ribadeneira’s biography of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Venice, 1587), illustrated with an elegantly engraved portrait of the saint, and an edition of St. Robert Bellarmine’s The Eternal Happiness of the Saints (Lyon, 1618) published during the author’s lifetime [1542-1621])

· two examples of anti-Jesuit literature of the kind that eventually led to the Society’s suppression in 1773

Through this exhibition, Dr. Heck wants to share the joy that rare books have given him with his colleagues and the students of Saint Joseph’s University. This exhibit complements the university’s own Jesuitica Collection, maintained in the Special Collections Room and available for study by users of the university library.

An 8-page printed guide is available at the exhibit venue that provides a narrative context for understanding the books exhibited.

The exhibit will be on display through May .

For more information, please contact:

Rev. Joseph F. Chorpenning, O.S.F.S., S.T.L., Ph.D.
Editorial Director
Saint Joseph’s University Press
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA  19131-1395

E-mail: jchorpen@sju.edu
Tel. 610/660-1214