Swiss Treasures: From Biblical Papyrus and Parchment to Erasmus, Zwingli, Calvin, and Barth

Exhibition Dates: September 21 – December 14, 2012

Situated in the heart of Europe, Switzerland has long been a center for Biblical studies and transformative contributions to Judeo-Christian culture. This exhibition explores the importance of Swiss religious influences across a range of traditions and historical personalities, among them Erasmus, Zwingli, John Calvin, and Karl Barth. Papyri, parchments, first editions, early printings, and modern manuscripts represent treasures in Swiss institutions that link these and other religious thinkers to the philosophical, theological, and political movements that have shaped the modern world.

The rare historical treasures displayed in this exhibition have been gathered from seven distinguished Swiss archives and libraries: Basel University Library (Basel), State and University Library (Fribourg), Abbey Library of St. Gall (St. Gall), Central Library (Zurich), the Martin Bodmer Foundation (Cologny), Karl Barth Archive (Basel), and Library of Geneva (Geneva). The exhibition also displays a rare volume from the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Chicago Library.   

This unique display of rare historical treasures from Swiss institutions has been brought together to mark the joint annual meetings in Chicago of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion in November 2012.

At the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Saturdays: 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
when classes are in session

Curator: Dr. Gabriella Gelardini, University of Basel, Switzerland

Use of Images

These images from the exhibition are available for members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with the University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  Email Rachel Rosenberg (phone: 773-834-1519) or Joseph Scott (phone: 773-702-6655)  to request high-resolution images. 

Liber Psalmorum, Medieval Bible in Latin and German

Liber Psalmorum, Medieval Bible in Latin and German, ca. 1200. Courtesy of Martin Bodmer Foundation in Cologny (Geneva)


Novum Instrumentum Omne

Novum Instrumentum Omne, first printed Greek New Testament edited by Erasmus, 1516. Courtesy of Basel University Library – Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität Basel


Papyrus fragments of Psalms 33 and 34, Greek Old Testament

Papyrus fragments of Psalms 33 and 34, Greek Old Testament, 3rd to 4th century. Courtesy of Martin Bodmer Foundation in Cologny (Geneva)

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