Monday, 26 May 2014

Bible as Notepad. Conference in Oslo

In cooperation with the Schøyen Collection, The Norwegian Bible Society, MF Norwegian School of Theology, the research project "'Biblical' Texts before the Bible," and with the assistance of Matthew P. Monger, I am putting together the conference Bible as Notepad. As the title indicates, the topic of the conference is annotations of various sorts in late antique and medieval manuscripts. An exquisite group of scholars from various countries and disciplines will come to Oslo to share their knowledge and reflections on this important yet understudied topic.

The conference takes place at MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo, 10-12 December 2014. There is room for a limited number of non-paper giving attendees. To register please visit http://www.mf.no/en/about-mf/events/bible-notepad, or contact Matthew.P.Monger@mf.no










Program


Wednesday 10 December


9.00 Formal opening
Rector Vidar L. Haanes

9.15 Liv Ingeborg Lied
“Introductory reflections: Bible as notepad”

9.45 Marilena Maniaci
“Written evidence in the Italian Giant Bibles: around and beyond the sacred text”

10.45 Coffee break

11.00 Nurit Pasternak
“The hand of the Florentine humanist Giannozzo Manetti in his Hebrew manuscripts”

12.00 Lunch

13.00 James R. Davila
“Notes in the text?  The unique secondary readings in MS Leiden Or. 4730's text of the Hekhalot Rabbati”

14.00 Loren Stuckenbruck
"Marginal notes on the liturgical use of Enoch in the Ethiopian tradition"

16.30 Exhibit of annotated manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection. By invitation only

20.00 Dinner


Thursday

09.00 Patrick Andrist
“Scholarly and non-scholarly notes in the margin of the Greek Bible”

10.00 Matthew P. Monger
“The names of the wives of the Patriarchs in the margins of Minuscule 135 of the LXX (Univ.-Bibl., A.N. III. 13)”

11.00 Coffee break

11.15 Michael Philip Penn
“Commenting on Chalcedon”

12.15 Lunch

13.30 Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin
“The poetic art of East and West-Syriac colophons”

14.30 Jeff Childers
Divining Gospel: Classifying manuscripts of John used in Sortilege”

15.30 Coffee break

16.00 Hindy Najman
“‘Philologie der Philosophie’: revisiting the limits and possibilities of philology”

17.00 Otfried Czaika
“Used theological and spiritual books in Scandinavia ca 1450-1600”

18.00 Exhibit of Scandinavian bibles
Hans-Olav Mørk

20.00 Dinner


Friday

08.30 Malachi Beit-Arié
“Glosses by users of Hebrew handwritten books

09.30 Daniel Falk
“Marginal marks in Psalms scrolls and liturgical manuscripts from Qumran”

10.30 Break

10.45 Kipp Davis
“Margins as media:  The long insertion in 4QJer-a (4Q70)”

11.45 Årstein Justnes and Torleif Elgvin
“In the footsteps of the scribes of the great Isaiah scroll (1QIsa a)”

13.00 Lunch

14.00 End of conference



Sunday, 25 May 2014

Syriac bindings in the British Library - follow up

The post "A sense of detachment" has just been published over at the British Library Medieval manuscripts blog. The post contains some interesting information about the 18th-19th century practice of routinely rebinding newly-arrived manuscripts. Syriac codices and bindings are not  explicitly mentioned, but the blog post confirms some of the information posted on this blog here.


Monday, 12 May 2014

Scandinavian bibles as cultural artefacts - a popularized piece in Norwegian




I am a columnist in the Norwegian newspaper Vårt Land. The piece below, "The Bible Artefact", was published last weekend and is relevant also for readers of this blog - at least those of you who read a Scandinavian language (alternatively: run it through Google Translate at your own risk). I deal with some cultural functions of Norwegian/Scandinavian bible artefacts beyond their functions as text carriers. Bibles are, among other things, interior decorating style icons, an integrated part of the festive dress of the confirmand, a diary/notebook, and a scrapbook.


Enjoy!







Bibeltingen

Gå bort til bokhylla og ta ned Bibelen. Du holder nå en gjenstand i hånda.

Det er vel knapt en overdrivelse å si at Bibelen er en av kristenhetens viktigste bøker. Det er heller ingen overdrivelse å si at det er en av verdens mest utforskede bøker. Tekstene i bibelen har blitt studert og analysert så lenge de har eksistert, men bibelforskere har hatt en tendens til å glemme er at når bibeltekstene samles og bindes sammen av en perm så blir det enkelte bibel-eksemplaret også en materielt eksisterende ting. Bibelen er i så måte en ting som har betydd og som betyr noe for folk flest, som befolker stuer og nattbordsskuffer i det ganske land, som kan anskaffes for å matche et festantrekk, og som minner, livs- og familiehistorie bokstavelig talt skrives inn i.

Bibelen er en interiør-ting. Vi vet at Bibelen er blant Norges mest solgte bøker og derfor nødvendigvis må befinne seg i mange norske hjem. Noen oppbevarer nok ganske enkelt Bibelen i bokhyllen. Andre, derimot, gjør Bibelen – og aller helst oldemors velbrukte bibel – til en meningsladet pyntegjenstand. Fra 2005-2010 var såkalt Fransk land-stil en dominerende interiørtrend i Norden, den dikterte utsmykningen av mange norske hushold også, og tilhengerne av denne interiørstilen brukte bibler som en sentral stilmarkør. Man skulle ha en velbrukt, gammeldags bibel liggende på avlastningsbordet ved sofaen, på samme måte som man også skulle ha mariastatuetter, englevinger, sofaputer med fransk tekst og støvete roser i en gammel kaffekanne av sølvplett til å pynte opp i stuen.

Bibelen er også en trendy del av et antrekk eller en personlig klesstil. Bibeltingen er med andre ord mote. Du kan få kjøpt bibler i svart, brunt eller burgunder lær, i orange eller røde toner, samt i såkalte trend-utgaver med urban ekstravagansa på coveret. Det er ikke noe nytt ved dette. Gå en generasjon tilbake og finn bibler og salmebøker med pusete fløyelstrekk – alt for å stemme overens med den håpefulle konfirmants nyinnkjøpte kjole.

Noen ganger er Bibelen en dagbok. Den er med andre ord fortsatt bibel, men det er vel så mye margene og de tomme sidene nærmest permen som selve bibelteksten som sier noe om hva denne tingen er for den som har brukt den. Her skrives det av hjertens lyst – små og store livshendelser. Blant annet, «Søndag den 4 August 1958. ‘Kari’ og jeg er på bærtur (blåbær) i dag på […]. Ganske bra med bær. Vi holdt matpause ved hytta kl 16 (4)». Det er kanskje ikke så langt fra Galilea til hjemlig blåbærskog likevel.

Den mest rørende bruken av Bibelen som materiell ting er likevel bruken av den som arkiv for livs- og familiehistorie. Nordmenn har i flere generasjoner skrevet slektens liv inn i permer og flygeblad. Fødsler, dåp, ekteskapsinngåelse og død noteres med fin løkkeskrift. Slekters gang dokumenteres med innstukne foldere fra dåpsgudstjenester og begravelser, og brev og julekort av spesiell betydning oppbevares trygt mellom permene. Og så rapporteres det fra gamlehjemmet, at noen ganger, når det ryddes etter et langt liv som stille har forlatt oss, så daler et lettkledd ungdomsbilde av beboerens kone ut av bibelen som ligger på nattbordskanten: Et minne fra forlovelsestid og ungdoms prakt stukket inn et sted mellom Lukas og Johannes. Vurderer vi Bibelen som hellig tekst, kan det synes merkelig at 50-tallets nordiske skjønnhet skal pynte opp evangelieteksten, men ser vi bibler som kjære gjenstander med en spesiell plass og historie i folk flests liv er ingenting mer naturlig enn å oppbevare det du har kjærest der det ligger som tryggest.

Holder du bibel-tingen i hånda, eller ligger den kanskje til pynt borte på konsollbordet? Åpne den nå og se hvilke livshistorier tingen kan by deg.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

2 Baruch and 4 Ezra: Another Syriac lectionary manuscript


Today I have some real news for those of you who are fans of 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra: Lections from 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra have been identified in yet another, hitherto unpublished, Syriac lectionary manuscript.


Manuscripts containing (parts of) 2 Baruch, in particular, do not come to light very often. This is the first time since the late 1970s/early 1980s that a manuscript containing any part of 2 Baruch surfaces. The last manuscript to appear was the Arabic Mount Sinai manuscript, nr. 589 of the Atiya handlist. The last time a lectionary manuscript containing a lection from 2 Baruch was identified was back in the early 1970s (Ms 77 of the A Konath collection). That is forty years ago.

Sebastian Brock and Lucas Van Rompay's Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts and Fragments in the Library of the Deir al-Surian, Wadi Al-Natrun(Egypt) has just been published by Peeters Press. Congratulations to the editors! This is a great accomplishment and very helpful for many of us.

One of the manuscripts described in the new catalogue is Dayr al-Suryan Ms 33 (DS Syr 33), formerly MK 10bis. Unlike so many other codices, this lectionary manuscript was apparently not brought to Europe in the 19th century but remained in the Syrian Monastery. Although the existence of the manuscript was already known, the content (i.e., the identity and order of the lections) of this lectionary manuscript has as far as I know not been published before, and it has definitely not been known among scholars of 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra. I have not had the chance to examine DS Syr 33 myself, but Brock generously shared his entry on the manuscript with me some time ago and I have had the opportunity to work on it for a while.

According to Brock, DS Syr 33 probably dates from the 13th century. The manuscript unfortunately lacks the last folios and hence the colophon (which was assumedly there), but the hand resembles the hand responsible for DS Syr 42, which was copied in Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1221. It is unknown whether DS Syr 33 was copied in the Syrian Monastery, or whether the manuscript was brought there later on. In any case, the list of readings of the manuscript is very similar, partly identical, with the order of lections in Add 14686 of the British Library, which according to the colophon was copied in the monastery in 1255. Add 14686 is a manuscript I have worked on for a while now. (More on this manuscript on this blog later.)

The lection from 2 Baruch in Ds Syr 33 is 2 Bar 44:9-15, identified in the rubric as “From Baruch the Prophet”. It is found on folios 74v-75r and was read on the Sunday of the Departed. There are two lections from 4 Ezra in the lectionary manuscript. The first, 4 Ezra 7:26-42 identified as “From the Prophecy of Ezra”, is found on folios 72v-74v and was read immediately before the lection from 2 Baruch on the Sunday of the Departed.  The second lection, 4 Ezra 6:18-28 (“From Ezra the Prophet”) is one of the readings for the Feast of Mount Tabor (ff. 222r-223r).

As could be suspected due to the similarities between the two manuscripts, the lections from 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra and the occasions of reading in Ds Syr 33 are the same as in Add 14686. In Add 14686, 4 Ezra 12:31-38 is also read at the event of the Revelation of Joseph (ff. 16r-v). It is possible that this event and the reading were originally there in DS Syr 33 as well, but the relevant folios are unfortunately missing from the codex. We don’t know what the relationship between the two manuscripts is in terms of production and copying, but it is at least likely that DS Syr 33 is  somewhat older than Add 14686. In effect, DS Syr 33 is probably the oldest known lectionary manuscript attesting to the explicit liturgical use of a passage from 2 Baruch.

So, what’s new and why is this important?

The fact that lections from 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra were read during worship by groups of medieval Syriac Christians have been known for a while (W. Baars, 1963; L.I.Lied, 2013). However, what DS Syr 33 shows us is that there probably was a “chain of transmission” (I hesitate using “tradition”) of reading lections from 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra in West Syriac worship practice – at least in some monastic milieus in the Middle Ages. I neither suggest that these lections and the texts they were excerpted from were read by everyone, nor that they were the most important texts in the world. I am saying that they were in use in a liturgical tradition that is known for its lack of uniformity (or in other words: its ability to adjust and to use texts and traditions creatively). DS Syr 33 is so far the fifth known Syriac manuscript from this period that contains lections from both or one of these texts. It shows us that passages once excerpted from 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra were read as "scripture"/biblical books/parts of the “biblical story”/associated with the figures Baruch and Ezra, and that they continued to be copied as such.  



It is a big day! Go celebrate!