Project Area C: Manuscript Collections and Manuscripts as Collections
As a rule, each manuscript forms, during its period of existence, part of at least one collection; and the understanding of the functions which an individual manuscript had (and in some cases has), and of its history, is dependent on uncovering the story of the collection(s) to which it belonged (and belongs) — collections which in turn have their own histories too. These collections may be of many kinds, ranging from private collections to public libraries. One of our principal goals is to reconsider the nature of collections, and their several functions, in manuscript cultures.
Manuscripts which are collections (of texts) are probably a feature of every manuscript culture. The focus of much of scholarship on texts has often overlooked this fact; but the organization of multiple-text manuscripts is in fact one of the most important clues to the function of texts and textual knowledge. Such a manuscript may in some cases reflect a collection of manuscripts. Thus the themes of collections of manuscripts and of manuscripts which are collections are closely related, offering different but essential and complementary perspectives on the organization of knowledge.
A Twelfth-Century East Indian Monastic Library and its Fate
The sub-project aims to build up, for the first time, a picture of a twelfth century East Indian Buddhist manuscript collection and the scriptorium that produced it, paying attention to the textual corpus represented, as well as to features of organization within the individual manuscripts, including codicological aspects. The corpus has recently been identified as having been produced at Vikramaśīla, one of the most celebrated Buddhist monastic centres of learning in India. As a control-group, necessary to establish precisely what the specific features of our corpus are, other manuscripts with similar (i.e. East Indian Buddhist, of ca. the twelfth century) provenance will be examined. As a second, subsidiary, goal, the fate of the manuscripts of this corpus will be investigated.
Principal Investigator: Harunaga Isaacson
Research Associate: Martin Delhey
Doxographical Organisational Schemes in Manuscripts and Xylographs of the Collection of the Ancient Tantras
This Tibetological sub-project focuses on the manuscript and xylograph collections of para-canonical scriptures known as the rNying ma rgyud ’bum (“Collection of the Ancient Tantras”). The sub-project will study the different schemes, designed especially for this collection, used to organize this corpus into sections and subsections, as well as the history of how this organization emerged. The collection’s organization will be examined in more depth through a case study of a particular work, the Bodhicittabhāvanā.
Principal Investigator: Orna Almogi
Research Associate: Dimitri Pauls
For Palaces and Tombs: Book Collections in Ancient China (3rd- 1st Centuries BCE)
The catalogue of the imperial library (early 1st cent. CE) is the only extant source for ancient Chinese manuscript culture. It probably represents a new classification system, which became the predecessor of all later ones. Book collections from tombs allow the organization of knowledge in earlier manuscripts to be reconstructed as well as comparisons with those in the imperial catalogue to be made.
Principal Investigator: Michael Friedrich
Buyruk Manuscripts in Alevism: Multiple-text Manuscripts as Bearers and Transmitters of Religious Knowledge at the Interface of Literacy and Oral Culture
This sub-project will examine the nature and function of ca. 30 single-volume, multiple-text Buyruk manuscripts (late 18th c.–early 20th c.) used for preserving and transmitting religious knowledge in the orally dominated context of Alevi communities. By means of manuscriptological, linguistic, paleographical and material-based analysis, the characteristics of these ‘autonomous’ manuscript cultures will be identified, especially with regard to the organization of knowledge, and the means and techniques of transmitting and compiling texts. This will also enable the changes in these manuscript cultures in comparison to the social-cultural context to be tracked.
Principal Investigator: Raoul Motika
Research Associate: Janina Karolewski
Cross-Section Views of Evolving Knowledge: Canonico-Liturgical and Hagiographic Ethiopic Christian Manuscripts as Corpus-Organizers
In this sub-project, approximately 50 medieval Ethiopic manuscripts of two corpora (canonical and hagiographic) will be investigated. These manuscripts played the role of "corpus-organizers" in the transmission of written knowledge from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, between the vanishing of the Greek-based heritage of Aksum (4th to 7th cent. C.E.) to the Medieval Arabic-based period (since the 13th cent.). The sub-project will provide a mapping of the manuscripts and will correlate material and textual evidence. On the basis of one of the most ancient canonico-liturgical collections extant today, a reconstruction of a lost Alexandrian church archive will also be attempted.
Principal Investigator: Alessandro Bausi
Research Associate: Antonella Brita
Philosophical and Scientific Knowledge in the Greek Manuscripts of Cardinal Bessarion (1403-1472)
On the basis of Bessarion's collection of Platonic and Aristotelian manuscripts, this sub-project will examine the central role held by manuscripts as a medium for exchanging knowledge between Greece and Italy during the Renaissance. A systematic analysis will be made of the manuscripts Bessarion kept for his personal use, as well as the 'template manuscripts', based on these, that were corrected, copied and used for the wider dissemination of scientific knowledge. Examined will be the version of each text, as well as corrections, annotations, scholia, schematics and other paratexts. The study of these manuscripts and their ways of distribution aims at retracing the basis of the conflict between Aristotelianism and Platonism, which was central to the self-definition of scholars during the Renaissance.
Principal Investigator: Christian Brockmann
Research Associate: Vito Lorusso
Edition of the Solutiones by Theodoros Gazes in cooperation with Stefano Martinelli Tempesta
The Place of Swahili Manuscripts in East African Collections
This sub-project is devoted to the study of Swahili manuscripts written in Swahili-Arabic script which are part of East African collections compiled by Swahili scholars, poets or their inheritors or by institutions such as libraries, archives and mosques. In order to achieve this, a limited number of non-catalogued East African collections which include Swahili manuscripts will be localized, described and analyzed for the first time. In a society with restricted literacy and emphasis on orality such as the Swahili society, the function of the manuscripts expected to be found in collections has to be considered in relation to oral performance. Another objective of this sub-project is to study the relation between the manuscripts and oral practices.
Principal Investigator: Roland Kießling