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


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 204

The fourth entry for the Penn Parchment Project is LJS 204, an Italian manuscript dated from 1509. It is an introduction and compilation of astrological tables calculated for the Jewish calendar and the longitude and latitude of Tarascon, Provence, the home of the author, Immanuel ben Jacob Bonfils. To find out more about the manuscript (although a full digitized version is not available) visit http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/5316112.


A short video showing some sample pages from the manuscript.

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A close-up of the folio from which our sample was taken.

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The ms is about seven inches high.


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Manuscript Monday: Penn MS Codex 1329

The third entry for the Penn Parchment Project is MS Codex 1329, an Italian manuscript dated from between 1200 and about 1230. It is a commentary on the Song of Solomon. The shapes in the margins present the biblical lemmata in decorated circles and triangles, while the main text of the manuscript presents the commentary itself. To find out more about the manuscript, and to view a full digital facsimile, visit http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/4439968.


A short video showing some sample pages from the manuscript.

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A close-up of the folio from which our sample was taken.

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The ms is a bit shorter than six inches.


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Manuscript Monday: Introducing the Penn Parchment Project

We are pleased to announce the Penn Parchment Project, a collaboration between SIMS and a team at the University of York Department of Archaeology. The team at York is working to produce a “rapid, inexpensive, and non-destructive method of species identification based on collagen analysis.” (See http://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/staff/research-staff/fiddyment/#research for more information)

Over the next several months, Penn will be sending dozens of samples to York for testing. Will Noel, the director of SIMS and the Special Collections Center (and a world renowned expert in medieval manuscripts) will be guessing the source for a small selection of these samples, and we invite others interested in manuscripts, both professionals and students, to join in the game.

Every week, we’ll post a few photos and a short video of one manuscript, pointing out any features that might help determine the animal source of the parchment (differences between hair and flesh side, indications of the size of the sheets, suppleness). Post guesses in the comments area here on the blog. Let us know if you need more information – we can always post more photos if needed.

The first entry for the Penn Parchment Project is LJS 26, an Italian manuscript dated from between 1225 and 1275. It is a mathematical treatise. To find out more about the manuscript, and to view a full digital facsimile, visit http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/4646348.

A short video showing some notable folios in the manuscript.

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A close-up of a folio from LJS 26. This is the folio sampled for the project.

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Will Noel checking out the parchment in LJS 26.

Will has made his guess. What’s yours?