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


Leave a comment

Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away – Episode 12, LJS 459

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 459: popular treatise in Arabic

In this video we look at LJS 459, a 12th century treatise presented as a letter from Aristotle to Alexander the Great on statecraft, astronomy, astrology, magic, and medicine, called the Secretum secretorum in Latin. It was a popular work in the Middle East and the West throughout the middle ages, although it was most certainly not written by Aristotle. We compare some of the textual elements in this manuscript – the layout on a page where the names of planets are written, along with some colorful illuminated headings – to textual decoration and layout in the Jedi manuscripts.

Online record and digital images of LJS 459: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/9958033443503681

Phil Szostak, The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Star-Wars-Last-Jedi/dp/1419727052/)

Images of the “Tree Library” by Seth Engstrom & Rodolfo Damaggio

Mock-ups for six pages from the Jedi books by Chris Kitisakkul

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)


Leave a comment

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 29/52 Prayer Book, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 207, fol. 2r (miniature of the Annunciation) Up to this point, many of this blog’s posts have dealt with Books of Hours, those ubiquitous devotional tools of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. This week, we are…

via Italian with a French Accent: A Prayer Book Made in Occupied Milan? — Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis


Leave a comment

Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away – Episode 11, W.836 binding

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.

Walters Art Museum W.836: A broken binding

In this video we compare the bindings of the Jedi texts with that of Walters Art Museum W.836. W.836 is an early 14th century Ethiopian Gospel book from Tǝgray, Northern Ethiopia. The covers of this book are simple wooden boards, but at some point the front cover broke into two pieces, and someone fixed it by sewing the pieces together. Composite bindings – covers made from multiple pieces of hard material attached together – are a notable aspect of the Jedi texts, although it is a very unusual practice on earth.

Online record and digital images of W.836: http://manuscripts.thewalters.org/viewer.php?id=W.836#page/1/mode/2up

Phil Szostak, The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Star-Wars-Last-Jedi/dp/1419727052/)

Images of the “Tree Library” by Seth Engstrom & Rodolfo Damaggio

Mock-ups for six pages from the Jedi books by Chris Kitisakkul

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)


Leave a comment

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 28/52 Saint Augustine, De civitate Dei (City of God), University of Pennsylvania, Inc A-1232 Folio, fol. 13r This week’s BiblioPhilly manuscript “discovery” is a bit of a misnomer on all three counts, as it A) amplifies an observation previously made by another scholar, B) relates to an item…

via A Leopard that Changes its Spots: A Hand-Decorated Incunable from the Library of Jean Chardalle — Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis


Leave a comment

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 27/52 Cicero, Epistolae ad familiares (Letters to Friends), Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 66, fol. 1r The recovery of ancient collections of letters provided new stylistic models for humanists eager to break with the old-fashioned Medieval formularies, the stilted writing manuals that had until then…

via A cicerone’s Cicero — Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis


Leave a comment

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 26/52A guest post by University of Pennsylvania Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian, Amey Hutchins Carta executoria, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 241, fols. 1v–2r (large illuminated initial D, coat of arms; facing text page) As Richard L. Kagan explains in Lawsuits and Litigants in Castile,1 minors (under…

via Family Resemblances, Part 2 — Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis


Leave a comment

Sacred Texts: Codices Far, Far Away – Episode 10, LJS 102 binding

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: Focus on the binding

This video begins the part of our series where we focus on the bindings of the Jedi texts. Our conversation in this video focuses on binding of LJS 102, the early 20th century Ethiopian prayer book which we looked at in Episode 3. We’ll compare this binding to the Jedi texts, and talk about how they are similar, and how they’re quite different.

Online record and digital images of LJS 102: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/9948521743503681

Phil Szostak, The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Star-Wars-Last-Jedi/dp/1419727052/)
Images of the “Tree Library” by Seth Engstrom & Rodolfo Damaggio
Mock-ups for six pages from the Jedi books by Chris Kitisakkul

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)