Saturday, November 17, 2018

Bible as Notepad

I was pleased to lay my hands on this very recent collection of essays edited by Liv Ingeborg Lied and Marilena Maniaci. It is the third volume in De Gruyter’s new ‘Manuscripta Biblica’ series, edited by Patrick Andrist and Martin Wallraff. (Oddly, vol. 2 is only scheduled for publication in 2019 and there’s no word of vol. 1 on the publisher’s website.) As the series itself indicates, MB focuses on manuscripts of the Bible and as such ‘introduces and analyses these neglected witnesses of acts of reading and re-interpreting the text throughout the centuries’. Bible as Notepad fits squarely within this scope.

The essays, which are actually proceedings from a 2014 conference held in Oslo, deal with a diverse pool of topics. Here’s the TOC to whet your appetite:
  1. Liv Ingeborg Lied, ‘Bible as notepad: Exploring annotations and annotation practices in biblical manuscripts’
  2. Daniel K. Falk, ‘In the margins of the Dead Sea Scrolls’
  3. Kipp Davis, ‘Margins as media: The long insertion in 4QJera (4Q70)’
  4. Paolo Buzi, ‘Additional notes in Christian Egyptian biblical manuscripts (fourth–eleventh centuries): Brief remarks’
  5. Jeff W. Childers, ‘Divining gospel: Classifying manuscripts of John used in sortilege’
  6. Marilena Maniaci, ‘Written evidence in the Italian Giant Bibles: Around and beyond the sacred text’
  7. Nurit Pasternak, ‘Giannozzo Manetti’s handwritten notes in his Hebrew Bibles’
  8. Adam Carter Bremer-McCollum, ‘Notes and colophons of scribes and readers in Georgian biblical manuscripts from Saint Catherine’s Monastery (Sinai)’
  9. Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Ted M. Erho, ‘EMML 8400 and notes on the reading of Hēnok in Ethiopia’
  10. Patrick Andrist, ‘Toward a definition of paratexts and paratextuality: The case of ancient Greek manuscripts’
There’s much to be learnt from every essay in this wide-ranging collection, but the one that particularly hit home for me was Andrist’s, more theoretically geared, treatment of paratexts. (FWI: Patrick Andrist and Martin Wallraff are spearheading a big ERC-funded project ParaTexBib, which investigates the structural codicology and paratextual materials in the manuscripts of the canonical Gospels). I’ve been interested in the notion of paratextuality for a while now and have found Genette’s literary theories, which Andrist re-contextualised and re-appropriated for the study of biblical manuscripts, fascinating and potentially useful. I hope to say more on the subject in due course. Suffice it to say that the biblical manuscript tradition a rich pool of data that is ripe for fresh investigations and the study of paratexts might well be a very fruitful way of going about it.


  1. I have a lot of marginal notes in my NA28

    1. There are dissertations begging to be written on the subject!

    2. I could see some of Brent Nongbri's museum archeology being very useful in Pete's office.

  2. In the old NTs Graece et Latine are more marginal notes added by Eberhard Nestle then there are in the more recent NA's. (So, from NA26 and the Neo Vulgata editions onwards.)
    It's a pity that Eb. Nestle has not added the numbers of the Byzantine lection system, he planned to do.

    1. I agree it would be nice to have more in at least one of our modern editions.