You can now hold one of University of Michigan’s most valuable possessions in your hands.
Well, sort of.
Thirty of the rarest, earliest leaves of the Epistles of St. Paul, dating from 180 to 220 AD, have been digitized and turned into an interactive app usable on iPhones and iPads.
“What’s especially important is the direct experience with the ancient world,” Arthur Verhoogt, acting archivist of the library’s papyrology collection, said of the app, called PictureIt: EP.
“History is nice to read about but it’s much more important to be able to touch history.”
The collection of letters, known to scholars as Papyrus 46, is believed to be the oldest known surviving copy of the Letters of St. Paul. Out of the 104 page collection, 30 leaves reside here in Ann Arbor, 56 leaves reside at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and 18 are lost. A leaf is made up of two pages of a book.
The new app, prepared by the Digital Media Commons 3-D Lab at U-M, allows users to flip through the letters as they would a book.