In this second of a multi-part series on Austrian monasteries, we’ll continue our investigations into the libraries, scriptoria and “cabinets of curiosities” that brought together and preserved the expanding universe of science and exploration for medieval and Renaissance Europe. While devotion to God was paramount, a deep devotion and curiosity to nature and the written word were often obsessive within the same stone walls. Monks may have lived and breathed the Word of God, but their blood and sweat went into the natural history collections, libraries and books housed there, no matter if they were sacred, secular or sometimes even heretical. From the largest monastic library in the world to the scientific instruments that showed us the inner workings of Creation itself, Austrian monasteries were not just dark, dank hallways of religious devotion, but also illuminating institutions of learning and education.
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