The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn brings manuscript culture, modern technology and people together.


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Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away – Episode 4, LJS 26

On October 8, 2018, Dr. Brandon Hawk and curator Dot Porter met to talk about these ancient books, and to compare them with manuscripts from the collection of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania. This series is a record of those discussions.

LJS 26 – Algorismus and Tractatum de sphaera, by Joannes de Sacro Bosco

In this video we compare the diagrams in the Star Wars manuscripts to LJS 26, a thirteenth-century astronomical manuscript that contains several diagrams illustrating how medieval people (specifically Sacro Bosco, the author of the texts in this manuscript) conceived of the system of the earth, moon, and sun, and how those celestial bodies related to each other. When we look at the Star Wars manuscript diagrams what we see is a similar attempt to illustrate how those celestial bodies relate to each other, only – we think – across systems instead of within them.

Screenshots from the film and images from The Art of Star Wars are used under the Fair Use doctrine described in Section 107 of the Copyright Act (https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107)


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Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away – Episode 2, LJS 449

On October 8, 2018, Dr. Brandon Hawk and curator Dot Porter met to talk about these ancient books, and to compare them with manuscripts from the collection of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania. This series is a record of those discussions.

LJS 449 – Medical and astronomical miscellany

A glimpse from the middle of our conversation, we talk about at LJS 449, a fifteenth-century German miscellany containing astronomical, astrological, and medical texts. We discuss how these three topics, considered quite separate by most people today, were part of a whole for medieval people, and we contemplate how this holistic approach might be evident in the Jedi texts as well.

Screenshots from the film and images from The Art of Star Wars are used under the Fair Use doctrine described in Section 107 of the Copyright Act (https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107)


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Manuscript Monday: Play the De Ricci Digitized Archive Name Game

The following video tutorial demonstrates how to play the De Ricci Digitized Archive Name Game, a tool that creates links between bibliographer Seymour de Ricci’s handwritten notecards and name authority records in the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM). Left behind from De Ricci’s unfinished census of all the manuscript material in the UK, these 64,000 notecards are a treasure trove of information about the people and institutions who affected the provenance history of manuscripts. The original notecards now live in the archives of the Senate House Library at the University of London, with digitized versions accessible via the De Ricci Digitized Archive on the SDBM website. Since the SDBM also manages a local authority file with records of people and institutions who owned manuscripts, there is a lot of related information contained across both collections.

When you play the Name Game, you will create direct links between
the notecards in the De Ricci Digitized Archive and SDBM records,

thereby increasing access to both datasets and
enriching our collective knowledge of manuscript provenance.

The Name Game is fun to play because it is both productive and informative. As you read De Ricci’s notecards and search for links in the SDBM, you will encounter extra tidbits of information in addition to standard bibliographic content. For example, the card related to George Abbot, a former archbishop of Canterbury, notes that he killed a man by accident while shooting in Lord Zouch’s park in Hampshire. While this fact has little to do with Abbot’s manuscript collecting habits, it does contribute to a broader understanding of his personal life as well as De Ricci’s own interests as a bibliographer and scholar. These facts–and the choices De Ricci made in recording them–enhance our understanding of the human agents involved in both the history of manuscript provenance and bibliographical scholarship.

We have only just begun sorting through these notecards. Who knows what other trivia await? Quirky biographical facts are just the icing on the cake of this stockpile of provenance data. Join the fun via the link here. You must create a free SDBM account before you can play.

 


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Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away – Episode 3, LJS 102

On October 8, 2018, Dr. Brandon Hawk and curator Dot Porter met to talk about these ancient books, and to compare them with manuscripts from the collection of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania. This series is a record of those discussions.

LJS 102 –Zena nagaromu and hymns

The very first manuscript we discussed is LJS 102, which isn’t medieval at all. Rather it’s an early 20th century manuscript from Ethiopia that represents a very long and established manuscript culture – similar in some ways, we think, to the manuscript culture being shown in The Last Jedi.

Screenshots from the film and images from The Art of Star Wars are used under the Fair Use doctrine described in Section 107 of the Copyright Act (https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107)


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Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Luke Skywalker gathered a small library of ancient Jedi texts and placed them in an uneti tree on Ahch-To.

Ancient Jedi Texts

On October 8, 2018, Dr. Brandon Hawk and curator Dot Porter met to talk about these ancient books, and to compare them with manuscripts from the collection of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania.

We’re publishing our conversations as a series of video clips, which we’ll publish on the YouTube Channel of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. You can subscribe to the series here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snI2mkZ7hgw&list=PL8e3GREu0zuDCBZ1zju_uWTP5yiB5ZX75

We’ll release a new clip every couple of weeks until Star Wars Episode 9 is released on December 20th, 2019. We hope you’ll come along for our journey!

Six leaves as illustrated in the The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak

Folio 11v in University of Pennsylvania LJS 449

Screenshots from the film and images from The Art of Star Wars are used under the Fair Use doctrine described in Section 107 of the Copyright Act (https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107)


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 286 – Tadhkirah uṣūl handasah al-ḥisāb li-Uqlīdis

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 286, Tadhkirah uṣūl handasah al-ḥisāb li-Uqlīdis. This manuscript was written by Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Ṭūsī in Persia around A.H. 890 (1485), in Arabic, and it is a commentary on Euclid’s Elements, with numerous diagrams in and marginal annotations around the text and additional commentary on leaves following the text.

You can see the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand and you can download all of the images and metadata from OPenn.  You can also download a copy of this video and an eBook version of the manuscript (epub format) from ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository.

 


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The 2017–2018 SIMS-Herbert D. Katz Center Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies lecture by Alessandro Guetta

“‘No Longer Alien Residents’: Italian Jewish Texts in the Late Renaissance,” a lecture by Professor Alessandro Guetta, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris.

Delivered February 27, 2018, at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts.

In this lecture sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Alessandro Guetta discusses early modern translations of Hebrew texts into Italian and Judeo-Italian, a language written and spoken by Italian Jews from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

Professor Guetta begins by positioning his work as a response to a lack of cultural and literary studies of these translations. Through a series of case studies, he argues that despite ongoing social segregation, Jewish writers were integrated within Italian society through their use of a common language, namely the Tuscan dialect that was becoming the national standard. In a period characterized by complex and creative literary production in both languages, a skillful adaptation of a Hebrew text into Italian allowed readers to appreciate the beauty of the text in both languages, and heightened their sense of its spiritual and intellectual meanings. Thus Prof. Guetta concludes that Italian was “not less beloved than Hebrew,” and encouraged his audience to seek out the unedited Italian and Judeo-Italian literary manuscripts from this period.

The link to the lecture on the SIMS YouTube channel is https://youtu.be/M6pwRWVISHQ.

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies/Herbert D. Katz Center Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies fellowship is supported in part by the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar fund.