A Monk Saves Threatened Manuscripts Using Ultramodern Means

A Monk Saves Threatened Manuscripts Using Ultramodern Means 1

Vanessa Vick for The Chronicle

The Rev. Columba Stewart, a Benedictine monk and director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John's U. in Minnesota, works with a team of people digitizing early Christian manuscripts.

Does the phrase "monks and manuscripts" conjure up an image of medieval scribes huddled over parchment in unheated cells? One Benedictine monk, the Rev. Columba Stewart of St. John's Abbey and University, in College­ville, Minn., keeps that historic involvement with manuscripts alive in a very modern way—by making digital images of them.

Father Stewart is executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John's. A historian of the early monastic period,