Benedictine bibliographical history: a study on the Livraria de São Bento - the Old Library of Saint Benedict’s Monastery of São Paulo, Brazil, 16th-18th century


  • Andre Vieira de Freitas Araujo Professor in Librarianship and Information Units Management - Faculty of Business Administration and Accounting - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - (CBG-FACCUFRJ) - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Livraria de São Bento, Library of Saint Benedict’s Monastery (History) - 16th-18th century - São Paulo, Benedictine Libraries, Benedictine Librarians, Monastic Culture, Historical Bibliography


The present work discusses the formation of the Old Library of Saint Benedict's Monastery of São Paulo (known as Livraria de São Bento) in the historical and cultural contexts of Benedictine monasticism. To this end, the theoreticalmethodological literature comes not only from the historical bibliography but also the identification and analysis of the old books from 16th-18th centuries, which are part of the Library today. The research indicates the existence of a development policy for the collection guided both by the regulation of monastic life and the prevailing socio-cultural conditions, which were associated with broader objectives of the Portuguese Benedictine Congregation. In this context, the Monastery formed a library kept by monk-librarians and composed by various titles and themes. From this study, we understand that the historical and spiritual aspects of Benedictine monasticism constitute the bibliographical, cultural and informational identity of the Livraria. “A venerable, regular, dignified and religious place”, the Livraria de São Bento is characterised by the dynamics of control and power - aspects that are rooted in its trans-medieval model, recurrent in cloistral libraries.