Carolingian Structures of Logic and Learning: The Evidence of University of Pennsylvania Libraries LJS 101

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Manuscript Studies
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Carolingian manuscripts
medieval liberal arts
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This paper presents preliminary research into how manuscript LJS 101, held in the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, represents a collective enterprise in its making and in its contents. The evidence of the texts, script, and decoration show that the manuscript was not only made, but also used within a larger community over an extended period of time. The inclusion of Boethius’s early sixth century translation of and commentary on Aristotle’s De Interpretatione alongside shorter texts, such as a sample letter and definitions of words, transforms the manuscript into a useful handbook for studying the first three subjects of the medieval liberal arts – grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic – within an instructional environment of teachers and students. The making of the manuscript also reflects the work of several individuals. At least two distinct phases of work can be identified, the hands of several scribes can be distinguished in the text and annotations, and the diagrams and decoration reflect diverse sources that may relate to the varied visual vocabulary of different artists. In these ways, the texts, script, and decoration of LJS 101 exemplify the community and combined efforts involved in Carolingian systems of education and manuscript production.

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Spring 2021
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