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Spring 2018 Vol. 3.1

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The Syriac Galen Palimpsest Project: An Introduction

William Noel and Ralph M. Rosen

This special issue of Manuscript Studies was born of a conference held by the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the Kislak Center of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries on April 29–30, 2016, entitled “Revealing Galen’s Simples.” The conference concerned a Syriac palimpsest first mentioned in a 1922 catalogue of the book dealer K. W. Hiersemann. It comprises an eleventh-century liturgical overtext and a ninth-century undertext. The undertext in the manuscript is illegible, but it was known to be medical in nature when it was bought by its current owner in 200⒉ Three years earlier this private collector had acquired the Archimedes Palimpsest, and had subsequently funded the effort to image and study that manuscript. The imaging techniques developed for the Archimedes program were applied to this codex in 2009, and immediately bore fruit.


Pulling It All Together: Managing the Syriac Galen Palimpsest Project

Michael B. Toth

During a two-year period, from 2009 to 2010, a multidisciplinary team conducted multispectral imaging, digital processing and data management of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest.  This contractor-led team applied the turnkey multispectral imaging techniques developed in earlier advanced imaging projects to this palimpsest. This required new management techniques and work processes to provide useful results efficiently and quickly, while minimizing risk. In the initial risk-mitigation study phase, the team first imaged several leaves of the bound SGP in 2009 to characterize the imaging and processing challenges. Building on the findings from this first phase, they then imaged all the disbound leaves in 2010. Management of the SGP imaging and processing focused on integration of the people, processes and technology into an efficient imaging system. This included planning and managing the data flow, data replication, image processing and production of the image product while avoiding bottlenecks. With over 300 GB of data hosted for open access, this project provided opportunity for further study and collaboration, and multispectral imaging work processes used on subsequent programs. This access to the online images allowed a global team of scholars to conduct independent research, during which they also discovered leaves missing from the bound manuscript.


The Codicology and Conservation of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest

Abigail B. Quandt and Renée C. Wolcott

Disbinding the Syriac Galen Palimpsest to allow for more successful imaging also permitted conservators to examine the codicology and binding of the palimpsest, the quality of its parchment, and the chemistry of its inks. Both the upper and lower texts were found to have iron gall black inks. The red ink in the Galen text was identified as red lead mixed with cinnabar or vermilion, while the red ink in the liturgical text was identified as cinnabar or vermilion alone. The leaves of the manuscript were coated with chalk according to Syriac tradition. The binding, which was probably applied at St. Catherine’s Monastery, retained evidence of both Syriac and Greek binding elements, including heavy endbands, reinforced headcaps, chain-stitch sewing, wide fabric spine linings, book markers, and interlaced fastening straps. During conservation treatment, conservators released leaves that were adhered in the gutter, mended edge tears and losses in the parchment, reduced adhesive residues, and consolidated flaking inks resulting from water damage. At the request of the palimpsest’s owner, the book was rebound after imaging. The repaired quires were sewn over a paper concertina to protect the parchment from adhesives and to make the binding readily reversible. The volume was provided with new fabric spine linings, plain endbands, and a new leather spine that maximized visibility of the earlier binding features.


Spectral Imaging Methods Applied to the Syriac Galen Palimpsest 

Roger L. Easton, Jr., Keith T. Knox, William A. Christens-Barry, and Ken Boydston

The spectral imaging techniques applied to the so-called “Syriac Galen palimpsest” in 2008-2010 are reported, including examples of results obtained. The imaging methods were adapted from those used on the Archimedes palimpsest during prior years, and are now comparatively elementary relative to methods that have been developed since. These recent advances will be outlined to demonstrate why improvements would be expected in newer imaging collections and processing.


The Galen Palimpsest and the Modest Ambitions of the Digital Data Set

Doug Emery

The digital Syriac Galen Palimpsest (SGP) data set is an archive built on the model of the digital Archimedes Palimpsest. As with Archimedes, the SGP data set is meant to promote the long-term preservation of and access to the digitized palimpsest. The SGP data set follows archiving best practices and uses the Archimedes Palimpsest Metadata Standard for spectral imaging metadata. The data is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0). The SGP project used custom software to manage its data and metadata from the time of capture to final data set publication. In the years since initial publication, newly discovered leaves of the manuscript have been discovered, imaged, and added to the on-line archive. Since the publication of the SGP data set, subsequent projects have built on and refined the methods established by the SGP team by moving away from content-based file naming, establishing formal quality assurance practices, increasing automation in the creation and management of data and metadata, and including full bit-depth capture images in the digital product.


The Syriac Galen Palimpsest: A Tale of Two Texts

Naima Afif, Siam Bhayro, Grigory Kessel, Peter E. Pormann, William I. Sellers, and Natalia Smelova

This article presents the Syriac Galen Palimpsest’s double history, of both the original manuscript and its subsequent reuse. The original medical manuscript contained Galen’s Book of Simple Drugs in Syriac translation, was probably produced in northern Mesopotamia or western Syria, and dates to the first half of the ninth century. After only two centuries, it was erased and reused to produce a liturgical text called Octṓēchos, probably at the monastery of Saint Elias on the Black Mountain. This palimpsest was later transferred to Saint Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai, where it remained for several centuries before being offered for sale in Leipzig in 1922 (perhaps due to the activities of Friedrich Grote). We pay close attention to the context, contents, codicology and palaeography of both the original manuscript and the palimpsest. We also contextualise both texts within the wider story of their transmission. Through the "skeleton" table we present the latest results of our almost complete identification of the undertext. We reconstruct the structure of the original codex through a collation diagram. We draw palaeographical parallels with a dated colophon of the well-known Sahdona-manuscript. This permits us to narrow done the time and place of production of the original manuscript.


Analyzing Images, Editing Texts: The Manchester Project

Naima Afif, Siam Bhayro, Peter E. Pormann, William I. Sellers, and Natalia Smelova

This article discusses the methodologies and tools employed in the study of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest. While it focusses on the efforts of the ongoing Manchester Project, attention is also paid to earlier and contemporary work, particularly the most recent phase of research (which can be said to have started in 2009). In this way, the Manchester Project is properly contextualised. We describe the image analysis techniques employed by the Manchester team. The challenge is to reduce the information contained in the set of multi-spectral images and enhance it where it can usefully distinguish between undertext and overtext. One can either use unsupervised or supervised dimensional reduction techniques. An unsupervised method such as principle component analysis (PCA) provides an automatic result, whereas a supervised method such as Canonical Variates Analysis (CVA) requires one to teach the system by identifying blank areas, areas with only overtext, areas with only undertext, and areas with both. Using the resulting improvements to the visibility of the undertext, the Manchester team has been able to make significant advances in identifying where its folios fit into Galen’s Book of Simple Drugs. The use of a program called SketchEngine is outlined, which permits an engagement with parallel Greek and Syriac texts and powerful searches - this is particularly useful for those folios that come from Books 6–8, for which a parallel Syriac manuscript exists. Having completed this initial stage, it became clear that around 100 folios that did not come from Books 6-8 remained to be identified. SketchEngine again has proved to be very useful in facilitating identifications of these folios. To illustrate the different challenges posed by these two distinct scenarios, examples are provided from Books 5 and 8.


The Textual Interest of the Syriac Versions of Galen’s Simples

Irene Calà, Jimmy Daccache, and Robert Hawley

This paper presents a software framework for the registration and visualization of layered image sets. To demonstrate the utility of these tools, we apply them to the St. Chad Gospels manuscript, relying on images of each page of the document as it appeared over time. An automated pipeline is used to perform non-rigid registration on each series of images. To visualize the differences between copies of the same page, a registered image viewer is constructed that enables direct comparisons of registered images. The registration pipeline and viewer for the resulting aligned images are generalized for use with other data sets.


Of Scribes and Scripts: Citizen Science and the Cairo Geniza
Laura Newman Eckstein

Preserving Endangered Archives in Jerba, Tunisia: The al-Bāsī Family Library Pilot Project
Ali Boujdidi and Paul M. Love

The Intricacies of Capturing the Holdings of a Mosque Library in Yemen: The Library of the Shrine of Imām al-Hādī, Sa῾da
Sabine Schmidtke

Compilation, Collation and Correction in the Time of Encyclopedism: The Case of UPenn LJS 55
Nathalie Lacarrière 

Mapping Manuscript Migrations: Digging into Data for the History and Provenance of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
Toby Burrows, Eero Hyvönen, Lynn Ransom, and Hanno Wijsman


Ahmad ῾Abd al-Bāsit. Catalogue of the Private Collections of Manuscripts in the Egyptian National Library
Elias G. Saba 

David T. Gura. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College
Lisa Fagin Davis

Christopher De Hamel. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts 
Daniel Traister

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Fall 2017 Vol. 2.2

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Statim Prosequi: An Index as a Product, Instrument, and Medium of the Medieval Franciscan Inquisition in Tuscany
Geoffrey W. Clement

Codex Casanatensis Ms. 1730 is a compendious work containing a wide assortment of texts related to the medieval inquisition. This codex was conceived and executed as an unitary whole, and produced in the early fourteenth century for Franciscan inquisitors in Tuscany. While many texts in Casanatensis 1730 appear in other inquisitors’ codices, there are also texts that are unique to Ms. 1730. Among these is an index at the start (fol. 1-37) that not only covers Casanatensis 1730 in its entirety, but also contains features that render it especially utilitarian.

Through an exploration of these unique features in the index of Casanatensis 1730, it appears that in the index alone, an inquisitor had at hand an alphabetically-arranged mini-libellus that comprised thirty-seven folios of a work that ultimately contains 297 folios, and that set forth his duties, powers, procedures, possible penalties et al. The index was composed in a form that was not only a summary of authoritative lengthy legal texts in the codex, but one that was easily accessible, consultable, and portable.

Casanatensis 1730 was never intended to be read from beginning to end. It was an early inquisitorial legal reference work with encyclopedic contents, but those very same contents were reduced to index entries, which are brief summaries, to which inquisitors could quickly and easily refer. The index of Codex Casanatensis 1730 was the medium by which a complex body of legal texts was reduced to its essentials, and re-arranged into a form that could be accessed quickly and easily by anyone in need of such a handy reference guide; thereby expediting the inqusitorial process and better enabling an inquisitopr to “Statim prosequi…immediately prosecute”.

A Tool for Exemplary Pastoral Care: Three Booklets of the Edwardes Manuscript in Context
Hannah Weaver

As the recent bloom of literary scholarship around manuscripts shows, the longstanding desire to correct and emend their lessons has ceded to an appreciation of what we can learn about medieval reading and writing practices from them. This paper addresses the question of genre through three apparently disparate manuscripts associated with the Augustinian canons at Oxford in the early thirteenth century. United by 1300 into a single codex that was later bound into the larger Edwardes manuscript, Gui de Warewic, La Chanson de Guillaume, and the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle share a scribe, a lettrine artist, and a concern with acceptable Christian conduct that leads to the suggestion that the manuscript functioned as a reference codex of exemplary history. While a baronial household could have used such a manuscript, library evidence points to the possibility of Augustinian ownership of the completed codex. In addition, the Oxford houses of regular canons, Oseney Abbey and St. Frideswide’s Priory, were unusually involved in the care of their dependent churches; additional testimony from a fourth contemporary, related manuscript, Brother Angier’s Dialogues, reveals the importance of caring for sinners. Though at first glance Gui de Warewic, La Chanson de Guillaume, and the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle seem firmly rooted in the secular, lay sphere, putting their codex in context hints at an unexpected destination: as a tool for Augustinian pastoral care.


Conversational Lollardy: Reading the Margins of MS Bodley 978
Elizabeth Schirmer

Considers an unusual set of “key-object” annotations, pictorial as well as verbal, that appear in the margins of the Middle English gospel harmony Oon of Foure in Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 978. Argues that the margins of Bodley 978 record a variety of conversations shaped by lollardy. After briefly locating the Bodley manuscript in relation to the larger Oon of Foure tradition, the article proceeds by tracing a set of often-repeated annotative objects across the Bodley margins—key, sword, cross, lantern, heart. Taking these messy and amateurish finding aids seriously as intellectual work, it finds the primary Bodley annotator(s) developing a nuanced response to lollard hermeneutics and ecclesiology. Rather than defending scriptural translation or asserting scriptural authority, the Bodley key-object annotator(s) explore the nature of scriptural signs and track shifting modes of divine communication across the gospel narrative. And rather than directly attack the abuses of the clergy, they explore the nature of works and the uses of power—clerical and lay, human and divine—as they evolve across the unfolding arc of salvation history. Other hands respond variously to this annotative project, sometimes developing and other times critiquing the readings developed by main hand(s)’ key-objects. Lollardy itself emerges from this study, les as a coherent set of doctrines identified by a “sect vocabulary,” and more as a scripturally-grounded language for thinking with, a set of discursive and conceptual resources for entering into conversation on reformist topics in the vernacular.

“My Written Books of Surgery in the Englishe Tonge”: The London Company of Barber-Surgeons and the Lylye of Medicynes
Erin Connelly

The Middle English Lylye of Medicynes is an early fifteenth-century translation of Bernard of Gordon’s Latin Lilium medicinae (completed in 1305). The Lylye is contained in Oxford Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1505 as a sole text. Although there are many extant witnesses in Latin, there are no other known Middle English copies. The Lylye contains thousands of medicinal ingredients, including 360 individual recipes identified with Rx, with accompanying guidelines for diagnosis and prognosis. Although the text does contain some medical theory and etiology (based on thought from Arabic medicine, specifically Ibn Sīnā, and Antiquity, predominantly Galen and Hippocrates), its main feature is the large volume of medicinal recipes. It is thought to have been commissioned by Robert Broke, ‘master of the king’s stillatories,’ in the early fifteenth century during the reign of Henry VI. This article explores the later provenance of the Lylye amongst the Gale family of barber-surgeons in sixteenth-century London.

The Two Yoḥannәses of Santo Stefano degli Abissini, Rome: Reconstructing Biography and Cross-Cultural Encounter Through Manuscript Evidence
Samantha Kelly, Denis Nosnitsin

The Ethiopian Orthodox monastery of Santo Stefano degli Abissini in Rome was one of four diasporic Ethiopian communities around the Mediterranean and played a central role in disseminating knowledge about Ethiopian language, culture, and religion in sixteenth-century Europe. Yet apart from its most famous member, Täsfa Ṣǝyon, very little is known about the identities and careers of its monks. This article draws on the surviving Geez manuscripts of Santo Stefano’s own library, as well as European correspondence and archival documents, to reconstruct the biographies of two influential denizens of Santo Stefano. Hitherto believed to be a single person, Yoḥannǝs of Qänṭorare and Giovanni Battista “the Indian” (whom we identify instead as Yoḥannǝs of Cyprus) in fact followed quite different career trajectories, and illustrate the variety of ways in which Ethiopian Orthodox identity could be negotiated in a Catholic European setting.

Textual Contents of Pāli Samut Khois: In Connection with the Buddha’s Abhidhamma Teaching in Tāvatiṃsa Heaven

Toshiya Unebe

This article provides an overview of the collections of Thai manuscripts in Japan, especially the Royal Manuscripts presented to the Kakuozan Nittaiji temple and other palm-leaf collections kept at Japanese universities and libraries. It also briefly discusses collec­tions of samut khoi (illustrated folding paper manuscripts) of the Phra Malai dating from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century preserved in museums and libraries in Japan.

The Western Manuscript Collection of Alfred Chester Beatty (ca. 1915–1930)
Laura Cleaver

Alfred Chester Beatty and his wife Edith were amongst the last figures of a generation of London-based collectors who created major collections of medieval manuscripts between c. 1915 and c. 1930. In shaping his collection, Beatty benefitted from the advice and example offered by older collectors, in particular Sydney Cockerell and Henry Yates Thompson, and from the skills of those who worked in museums, notably Eric Millar. This period saw major developments in the study of medieval manuscripts. Much of this work was rooted in connoisseurship and concentrated on grouping books by region, artist and date. Trained by Cockerell and others, Beatty worked to develop connoisseurial skills in order to build a collection that could rival those in museums. The publication of catalogues of a selection of his books, and the sale of part of his collection in 1932-1933, helped to draw attention to the manuscripts that he considered to be of the finest quality. At the same time, the rejection of volumes from the collection, which were often never publicly linked to his name, helped to establish the collection’s reputation for excellence and to consolidate contemporary ideas about a canon of illuminated manuscripts that were to have an important influence on both twentieth-century collecting and scholarship.

The St. Chad Gospels: Diachronic Manuscript Registration and Visualization
Stephen Parsons, C. Seth Parker, W. Brent Seales

This paper presents a software framework for the registration and visualization of layered image sets. To demonstrate the utility of these tools, we apply them to the St. Chad Gospels manuscript, relying on images of each page of the document as it appeared over time. An automated pipeline is used to perform non-rigid registration on each series of images. To visualize the differences between copies of the same page, a registered image viewer is constructed that enables direct comparisons of registered images. The registration pipeline and viewer for the resulting aligned images are generalized for use with other data sets.

An Investigation of the Relationship Between Prince Shōtoku’s Shōmangyō-gisho and Two Dunhuang Buddhist Manuscripts: A Debate over Originality and Canonical Value
Mark Dennis

This article investigates the relationship between two manuscript fragments discovered in Dunhuang, China referred to as Nai 93 and Tama 24, and the Shōmangyō-gisho, a Buddhist text written in classical Chinese attributed to Japan’s Prince Shōtoku (574-622). Shōtoku is remembered in Japanese history as the country’s first patriarch of Buddhism, revered for his patronage of the nascent faith and his great erudition. His studies under a Korean Buddhist monk led, according to early historical texts, to his composing the Shōmangyō-gisho and two other Buddhist commentaries that have been greatly valued throughout Japanese Buddhist history.

But the discovery of the Dunhuang manuscripts, which are quite similar to and predate Shōtoku’s Shōmangyō-gisho, called into question the text’s perceived value. The article examines scholarship on this discovery published in the late 1960s and 1970s, which represents the search for “the true record” of Prince Shōtoku, the dominant paradigm of the field. It is meant to be a preliminary piece to a more detailed study of the intellectual history and exegetical tradition of the three texts attributed to Shōtoku.

The Glossa Ordinaria Manuscripts of the Biblioteca Capitolare of Monza
E. Ann Matter

The Glossa ordinaria is a set of standardized glosses to the Vulgate Bible text. It was developed in the early twelfth century and remained a standard feature of the Latin Bible through the early age of printing. Important scholarly studies of the past few decades have clarified much about the origin and use of the Glossa ordinaria, but there has been less attention given to the way in which Glossed Bibles were collected in medieval libraries. Before the advent of printing, manuscripts of the Glossa ordinaria always circulated in the format of part-Bibles, copies of specific biblical books or collections of similar books; as a result, collections were often spotty and are thought to have been somewhat randomly assembled. This study examines the remarkable set of Glossa ordinaria manuscripts in the Biblioteca Capitolare of Monza, Italy, where an almost complete Glossed Bible (missing only the books of Maccabees and Ruth) were collected in the late twelfth century. Special attention is given to several canons of the Monza Cathedral who donated these books to the library, especially one Guidotto, who left a number of manuscripts signed with his name, some of which say they were copied especially for the cathedral library. This suggests a deliberate medieval attempt to collect a Glossed Bible, and invites further exploration of other canonical libraries to more closely determine the relationship between the Glossa ordinaria and the biblical scholarship and book collecting habits of medieval Augustinian Canons.

The Summula de Summa Raymundi in Gordan MS 95, Bryn Mawr College
Thomas Izbicki

Raymond of Peñafort’s Summa de casibus conscientiae, including its fourth book, the Summa de matrimonio, was one of the most successful texts for pastors and confessors composed in the Middle Ages. Written by a Dominican friar in the thirteenth century, it treated cases of conscience in a systematic manner. It also examined matrimony and the other sacraments. The Summa was subject to detailed commentary by William of Rennes, updates by John of Freiburg reflecting new papal pronouncements, and abridgment for pastors’ greater convenience. One important summary was done in Latin verse, a work attributed to Adam of Aldersbach, a Cistercian monk. Eventually Adam’s Summula de summa Raymundi itself received a detailed prose commentary. This commented version was printed in Cologne in the late fifteenth century. Gordan Manuscript 95 at Bryn Mawr College, from the collection of Phyllis Goodhart Gordan, contains Raymond’s Summa with his commentary on the trees of consanguinity and affinity, which indicated whether couples were not permitted to marry because of blood kinship or sexual contact. It concludes with an extended extract from Adam’s work added after the texts by Raymond had been copied. That extract varies from the printed version and two manuscripts located at the University of Pennsylvania. The excerpts display differences from the other available texts of Adam’s work, including additional lines of verse, suggesting that it was drawn from a different manuscript tradition.

A Newly Discovered Manuscript of the Historia de los Reyes Moros de Granada by Hernando de Baeza
María Mercedes Delgado Pérez

The Historia de los Reyes Moros de Granada, written by the chronicler Hernando de Baeza in the first half of the XVI century, in Spain, is a valuable text that provides a very different perspective from other late medieval Spanish official chronicles. This article provides an account of the discovery of a previously unknown manuscript of this chronicle which, unlike the two others already known, is complete and includes the ending, which narrates the negotiations between the Catholic Kings of Spain and the last Nasrid sultan Boabdil for the Islamic surrender of Granada. The article describes this previously unknown manuscript, gives an account of the importance of the codex in which it is found, and shows the importance of this discovery for Spanish historiography more generally. A complete transcription in Castillian and an English translation are provided.



The Making and Meaning of the Liber Floridus: A Study of the Original Manuscript, Ghent, University Library MS 92 by Albert Derolez (review)
Mary Franklin-Brown

Catalogue of Yao Manuscripts by Bent Lerbæk Pedersen (review)
Adam Smith

Analysis of Ancient and Medieval Texts and Manuscripts: Digital Approaches ed. by T. L. Andrews and C. Macé (review)
Alexandra Gillespie

Manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible in the Bodleian and Oxford College Libraries by Elizabeth Solopova (review)
Kathleen E. Kennedy

Colour: The Art & Science of Illuminated Manuscripts ed. by S. Panayotova, D. Jackson, and P. Ricciardi (review)
Nicholas Herman



Spring 2017 Vol. 2.1

Illuminating Archives: Collectors and Collections in the History of Thai Manuscripts
Justin McDaniel

My office is on 36th Street in Philadelphia. Within a twenty-mile radius, there are more than thirty Thai restaurants, three places to practice Vipassana meditation from students who studied in Thailand, four actively working Thai language teachers, seven places to practice Thai kickboxing, a cultural center where Thai-Americans and non-Thai enthusiasts can practice classical Thai music and dancing, two Thai markets, and a major Thai Buddhist monastery. Thai-style Buddha images are sold in several curio shops, and one tattoo parlor advertises Thai protective tattoos. If you go to New York or Los Angeles, the number of ways of experiencing Thai culture increases exponentially. Thai people have traditionally been great exporters and promoters of their culture abroad, providing readily available access to it in places like Philadelphia, London, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Sydney, São Paulo, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo. In the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, however, the first way most foreigners—at that time this contact was limited largely to members of the leisure and upper classes—encountered Thai/Siamese culture was not through kickboxing (Muay Thai) or Pad Thai noodles, but through manuscripts.


Henry D. Ginsburg and the Thai Manuscripts Collection at the British Library and Beyond
Jana Igunma

"Over half a thousand Thai manuscripts are currently being held in British institutions, with the largest collection at the British Library. Other important collections are at the Wellcome Library, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Bodleian Library and the John Rylands Library.

Thai manuscripts and historic documents first came to Britain as a result of trade contacts, and documents from the earliest period include official letters and materials received from Thai counterparts. Manuscripts were also brought from Thailand by missionaries, travelers, traders, and officers of the India Office stationed in Burma, others were systematically collected by educators and scholars with a particular research interest. The largest number of manuscripts contains Buddhist scriptures and texts related to Buddhism, many of them in Pali language. However, almost all topics that can be found in the Thai manuscript tradition are represented in the collections held in the UK, for example literary and linguistic works, traditional medicine and healing practices, customary laws, cosmology and astrology, fortune-telling and divination, and animal treatises. Approximately a quarter of these manuscripts are illustrated or decorated in some way; some being outstanding examples of the tradition of Thai manuscript painting and manuscript decoration.

This diversity is the result of the different intentions and ambitions of the collectors. Some collectors carefully chose material that they had a certain research interest for. For example, Henry Ginsburg who was fascinated by the beauty of Thai manuscript art built the most important collection of illustrated Thai manuscripts in the UK (held at the British Library). Another collector, Henry Wellcome, was particularly interested in medical texts and artefacts; therefore his collection contains dozens of medical treatises and herbals.

Many manuscripts were given to British institutions after the death of a collector, and the trade in manuscripts only began to play a role in the second half of the 20th century. In my article I will give an overview of Thai manuscript collections in the UK, and major contributors and builders of these collections."


Cultural Goods and Flotsam: Early Thai Manuscripts in Germany and Those Who Collected Them
Barend Jan Terwiel

Finding Thai manuscripts in German museums and libraries is a daunting exercise. There are eight national libraries, twenty-five state libraries, and about eighty university libraries. As for the museums, of the thirty-nine ethnological museums, there are at least fourteen with collections that include objects from Asia. The standard publications on Thai material are both incomplete and out of date.
This paper centers upon the collectors, beginning with August the Strong, who in 1728 acquired a Thai scroll. A century later, there began a steady trickle of acquisitions. Details of how Thai manuscripts came to Germany are presented for the century between 1830 and 1930. The collectors were missionaries, explorers, diplomats, travelers, traders, and Europeans in the employ of the Siamese Government. Altogether, the Thai manuscript material in Germany is a mixed batch indeed: some documents proved to be of great value, but there are also many incomplete items and standard pieces of literature. Hence the title: "Cultural Goods and Flotsam".


Thai Manuscripts in Italian Libraries: Three Manuscripts from G. E. Gerini's Collection Kept at the University of Naples "L'Orientale"
Claudio Cicuzza

In this article I present a short description of the three illuminated Thai manuscripts kept in one of the libraries of the University of Naples "L'Orientale", the Biblioteca Maurizio Taddei. These three manuscripts contain various Buddhist jātakas and also non-canonical works, in Pali and in Thai. They are adorned with beautiful depicted images which have been here reproduced.

Manuscripts in Central Thailand: Samut Khoi from Phetchaburi Province
Peter Skilling, Santi Pakdeekham

The article discusses illuminated manuscripts of Central Thailand, dealing with the different formats and different scripts (Khom, Thai, and Mon) used for different purposes, and their eventual evolution to print technology. We focus on manuscripts from Wat Pak Khlong, Phetchaburi, and illustrate examples from its small but precious organic collection. The themes of the illustrations are both narrative and non-narrative. The narratives, such as the story of the thaumaturge monk Phra Malai, are didactic. The non-narrative paintings might be described as simply decorative, but they draw on a rich animal lore that is detailed in scholastic literature. The texts recorded in the manuscripts, such as the story of Phra Malai, the Mahabuddhaguna, and the Unhissavijaya, have complex relationships to Thai Buddhist liturgy. A genre on the delineation of monastic boundaries illustrates a core concern of Theravāda monasticism throughout Southeast Asia.

Manuscripts from the Kingdom of Siam in Japan
Toshiya Unebe

In this chapter, the textual contents of the illustrated samut khoi-s in Thailand, are examined. Samut khoi manuscripts are an important resource for the study of Siamese and Buddhist literature in the 18th and 19th centuries. Samut khoi-s are divided into two groups. Both groups use a script called "Khom" (อักษรขอม), but one group uses a thin character set, and the other a thick and calligraphic character set. The chief text of eighteenth century samut khoi-s, the Mahābuddhaguṇa, shows what great importance Thai Buddhists attached to the Buddha-anussati, the recollection of the Buddha. In the 19th century, there was a growth of the tale of Phra Malai in the Thai vernacular language—-a story of a monk named Māleyya (in Pāli) who travels to hells to help people, and to Tāvatiṃsa heaven to meet the future Buddha Metteya—was very popular at funeral ceremonies.

The Chester Beatty Collection of Siamese Manuscripts in Ireland
Justin McDaniel

"This article demonstrates the importance of the Chester Beatty Library's collection of Thai manuscripts and more broadly highlights the importance of including the study of Ireland in the history of the study of Asia. I hope it also encourages future scholars to look to Ireland when writing the intellectual history of exchange between Asia and Europe. Even though Ireland was not a colonizing power, indeed, it was colonized for most of its pre-modern history, its libraries and museums attest to a people that spread far and wide across the globe sometimes as a point of necessity and sometimes in the spirit of exploration."


Siamese Manuscript Collections in the United States
Susanne Ryuyin Kerekes, Justin McDaniel

This article provides a brief survey of public collections of Thai manuscripts held in the United States, which is home to roughly 650 Thai manuscripts. Of the twenty institutions that house Thai manuscripts, the following five are highlighted in this article: the Asian Art Museum, the University of California at Berkeley, the New York Public Library, Princeton University Libraries, and the Walters Art Museum. The second half of this article details a few key manuscripts held at the University of Pennsylvania: the Abhidhamma chet Kamphi, one book of the Phra 'Aphaimanī epic, and a rare set of royal decrees. In short, this overview illustrates the vast diversity of genres of Thai manuscripts held in the United States – including a Thai translation of the Gospel of Matthew – as well as the diversity of its collectors in the nineteenth-century, the majority of whom were women.

The Medieval Manuscript Book: Cultural Approaches eds. by Michael Johnston and Michael Van Dussen (review)
Benjamin C. Tilghman

A Descriptive Catalogue of the Greek Manuscript Collection of Lambeth Palace Library by Christopher Wright et al. (review)
Georgi Parpulov

Christine de Pizan in Bruges: "Le livre de la cité des dames" as "Het Bouc van de Stede der Vrauwen" (London, British Library, Add. 20698) by Orlanda S. H. Lie et al. (review)
Hanno Wijsman

Borthwick Institute for Archives by York's Archbishops' (review)
Alexander Devine

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections by Jeffrey F. Hamburger et al., and: Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections eds. by Jeffrey F. Hamburger et al. (review)
Jessica Brantley



Fall 2016 Vol. 1.2

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Collecting Histories
Lynn Ransom

In the fall of 2014, the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies convened the Seventh Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age to consider the question: what can the study of collecting habits and provenance tell us about manuscript culture?1 Sometimes considered niche areas of interest, the history of collecting and provenance studies have broad implications for how we understand and interpret the manuscript book today. In the symposium, which we called “Collecting Histories,” our aim was to tease out some of those implications and provoke further thought on how examining patterns of collecting confirms or confounds assumptions about readership and the interpretation of texts and contexts of the premodern manuscript.

This issue of Manuscript Studies highlights the results of the “Collecting Histories” symposium and continues the conversations started during the event. As the contributions in this issue reveal, the life of a manuscript book only begins when a scribe puts down his or her pen. What happens from that moment to the present day can reveal a wealth of information about readership and reception across time.


Joseph Holland and the Idea of the Chaucerian Book
Megan L. Cook

The antiquarian Joseph Holland (d. 1605) owned a large, but damaged, Chaucerian manuscript from the early fifteenth century (now Cambridge University Library Gg.4.27). Holland recognized in the manuscript an effort to construct a collection based on Chaucerian authorship, and he repaired and added to it using a copy of the 1598 printed edition of Chaucer’s collected Works. From this edition, he took not only the text of Chaucer’s poems, but paratextual materials as well, including a glossary, biographical information, and a frontispiece. His activities reveal how a distinctly post-medieval understanding of what the collected works of Chaucer should look like shaped the history of this fifteenth-century manuscript, and underscore impact of later stages of transmission can have on the way medieval books are read and preserved.


“Safe from Destruction by Fire”: Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Venetian Manuscripts
Anne-Marie Eze

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston houses over thirty Venetian manuscripts dating from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. They comprise official documents issued by the Doges; histories of the Republic of Venice, its government, and the patriciate; diplomas; and a statute book of a lay confraternity. Most volumes contain complete and dated texts, are illuminated, and survive in their original bindings. The collection, therefore, charts the evolution over three centuries of Venetian book production, and provides a wealth of sources for the study of Venetian history, portraiture, iconography, genealogy, and heraldry. Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) purchased many of her Venetian manuscripts en bloc in 1903 from the Harvard University professor Charles Eliot Norton (1827–1907). Norton placed his collection formed in Venice in Gardner’s newly-opened museum to safeguard it from dispersal and mutilation for its miniatures and bindings. Drawing on Gardner and Norton’s unpublished correspondence and acquisition documents in the archives of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Harvard University, this article reconstructs the formation of one of the most important collections of Venetian manuscripts outside of Venice and presents a hitherto unknown episode of the preservation of illuminated manuscripts by two prominent Gilded Age American collectors.


From Sinai to California: The Trajectory of Greek NT Codex 712 from the UCLA Young Research Library’s Special Collections (170/347)

Julia Verkholantsev

The eleventh- or twelfth-century parchment codex 170/347 is one of the rarities archived in the UCLA Young Research Library Special Collections. It has much to offer to a student of paleography: illuminations, a scribe’s colophon, calligraphic minuscule script, later inscriptions and modifications, inserted paper quires, missing folia, study notes, and even a cryptographic table. One of the most fascinating aspects of this New-Testament-turned-lectionary manuscript, however, is its history as a world traveler, for the most part incognito. Although the manuscript’s mysterious disappearance from St. Catherine’s metochion in Cairo obscured its trajectory, the analysis of its graffiti and the comparison of catalogues’ data help reestablish its provenance and narrate its journey beyond the walls of a monastic scriptorium. The resulting travelogue not only tells the story of how Sinai-born MS 170/347 landed in Los Angeles; it offers insight into the fate that befell many other rare books in the height of the nineteenth-century collecting and scholarship rush.


“The Butcher’s Bill”: Using the Schoenberg Database to Reverse-Engineer Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Books from Constituent Fragments
Eric J. Johnson, Scott Gwara

The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts can be used not only to track the provenance of individual manuscripts, but also to uncover larger patterns in multiple provenance strings of manuscripts. For example, does an individual auction sale or bookseller’s catalogue have any discernable influence on the acquisitions made by a collector or institution? Or is the publication of a collection or exhibition catalogue preceded or followed by any discernable pattern of acquisition activity? This paper explores patterns of acquisition, exhibition and sale associated with the collections of William Bragge (1823-1884) of Sheffield and Dr. T. Shadford Walker (1834-1885) of Liverpool. Bragge was the largest single exhibitor in the Burlington Fine Arts Club exhibition in 1874. The sale of his library less than two years later at Sotheby’s in June 1876 was only identified as the property of “a gentleman of consummate taste and judgment,” but full reports in The Times revealed his identity to those not already in the know. Not surprisingly the London antiquarian booksellers, Bernard Quaritch, were a major buyer at the sale; its Catalogue 31 published in the fall of 1876 after the sale contains numerous items acquired there. Quaritch was also apparently bidding on behalf of the British Museum and of Dr. Walker of Liverpool. In October of the same year Walker was a major contributor to the Liverpool Fine Arts Club exhibition of illuminated manuscripts and every one of the 18 manuscripts exhibited by Walker had been purchased at the Bragge sale earlier that year.


The Linked Collections of William Bragge (1823–1884) of Birmingham and Dr. Thomas Shadford Walker (1834–1885) of Liverpool
William P. Stoneman

The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts can be used not only to track the provenance of individual manuscripts, but also to uncover larger patterns in multiple provenance strings of manuscripts. For example, does an individual auction sale or bookseller’s catalogue have any discernable influence on the acquisitions made by a collector or institution? Or is the publication of a collection or exhibition catalogue preceded or followed by any discernable pattern of acquisition activity? This paper explores patterns of acquisition, exhibition and sale associated with the collections of William Bragge (1823-1884) of Sheffield and Dr. T. Shadford Walker (1834-1885) of Liverpool. Bragge was the largest single exhibitor in the Burlington Fine Arts Club exhibition in 1874. The sale of his library less than two years later at Sotheby’s in June 1876 was only identified as the property of “a gentleman of consummate taste and judgment,” but full reports in The Times revealed his identity to those not already in the know. Not surprisingly the London antiquarian booksellers, Bernard Quaritch, were a major buyer at the sale; its Catalogue 31 published in the fall of 1876 after the sale contains numerous items acquired there. Quaritch was also apparently bidding on behalf of the British Museum and of Dr. Walker of Liverpool. In October of the same year Walker was a major contributor to the Liverpool Fine Arts Club exhibition of illuminated manuscripts and every one of the 18 manuscripts exhibited by Walker had been purchased at the Bragge sale earlier that year.


Medieval Origins Revealed by Modern Provenance: The Case of the Bywater Missal 
Peter Kidd

This essay works backwards and forwards from a few known points in the history of an early 13th-century illuminated missal at the Bodleian Library (MS. Bywater adds. 2), eventually filling-in the gaps to establish an unbroken chain of provenance from the present day back to the creation of the manuscript at the Cistercian abbey of Pontigny within about five years of 1208.


Canons, Huguenots, Movie Stars, and Missionaries: A Breviary’s Journey from Le Mans to Reno
Lisa Fagin Davis

This essay traces the journey of a breviary from the cathedral of Le Mans to the University of Nevada at Reno (ND2895.R46 U65 1400z). Liturgical evidence situates the original provenance of the University of Nevada manuscript securely in Le Mans and argues it was intended for display in a niche in the cathedral wall until 1562 when Huguenots sacked Le Mans. Although no definitive evidence of the manuscript is provided in the inventory made by the canons for the purpose of restitution, the manuscript does provide evidence for subsequent ownership. A nineteenth-century document pastedown on the back cover suggests that the manuscript traveled to England some time in the 19th century, where it was likely purchased by Gareth Hughes, the early Hollywood film star turned missionary, who later donated his collection to the University of Nevada in 1964.

Manuscripts of Sir Thomas Phillipps in North American Institutions
Toby Burrows

The manuscript collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps was almost certainly the largest private collection ever assembled. Its dispersal during the century after his death in 1872 scattered his manuscripts into public and private collections around the world. These included many collections in North America, several of which now count former Phillipps manuscripts among their greatest treasures. This paper examines the extent to which Phillipps manuscripts are now held in institutional collections in North America and traces the history of their acquisition



The Bibale Database at the IRHT: A Digital Tool for Researching Manuscript Provenance
Hanno Wijsman

The Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT) in Paris makes available a series of specialized electronic tools on medieval manuscripts, among which is Bibale, a database that aims to trace the provenance of medieval manuscripts and to reconstruct historic book collections from the medieval and early modern periods. This article explains the history, scope, and present state of this database and its links with several other tools, among which are the image repository Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux (BVMM) and the Biblissima project that is working on interoperability of a series of French digital humanities projects concerning manuscripts and early printed books.

Broken Books
Debra Taylor Cashion

Broken Books is a digital humanities project built collaboratively between Pius XII Memorial Library and the Center for Digital Humanities of Saint Louis University. The goal of the Broken Books is to offer a digital solution to the problem of studying detached leaves from premodern manuscripts. Using online images, descriptive metadata, and nimble digital tools for relating these, Broken Books provides allows any researcher to manage a reconstruction project that also permits outside users to add images and information to it. Although still under development, Broken Books will encourage new contributions to manuscripts studies by facilitating the reconstruction of manuscripts that some time in their history were broken apart and scattered among various locations.


Manuscripts of the Latin Classics 800–1200 ed. by Erik Kwakkel (review)
Rita Copeland




Spring 2016 Vol. 1.1

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