The Syriac Galen Palimpsest
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PublicationThe Intricacies of Capturing the Holdings of a Mosque Library in Yemen: The Library of the Shrine of Imām al-Hādī, Ṣaʿda(2019-05-09) Schmidtke, SabineThis article discusses the "The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition (ZMT)" initiative. The initiative aims to salvage the Zaydi literary tradition by gathering digital surrogates of as many Zaydi manuscripts as possible in a single repository and providing comprehensive and systematic open access to them for scholars worldwide, regardless of whether the physical manuscripts are preserved in Europe or in North America, in Yemen or elsewhere in the Middle East. The ZMT is a joint project initiated by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton, in partnership with the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. Work on the ZMT began in September 2016 and to date the project comprises some 1,000 digitized manuscripts from several European and Yemeni libraries which are accessible online through the project's Portal and HMML's virtual reading room. PublicationOf Scribes and Scripts: Citizen Science and the Cairo Genizah(2019-05-09) Eckstein, Laura NewmanIn August 2017, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, in partnership with the Princeton Geniza Project, the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University, and the Zooniverse, began the first phase of a larger project to attempt to sort and transcribe Cairo Geniza fragments, entitled “Scribes of the Cairo Geniza.” This article describes the first phase of the projects and its results. PublicationThe Galen Palimpsest and the Modest Ambitions of the Digital Data Set(2019-05-09) Emery, DougThe digital Syriac Galen Palimpsest (SGP) data set is an archive built on the model of the digital Archimedes Palimpsest. As with Archimedes, the SGP data set is meant to promote the long-term preservation of and access to the digitized palimpsest. The SGP data set follows archiving best practices and uses the Archimedes Palimpsest Metadata Standard for spectral imaging metadata. The data is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0). The SGP project used custom software to manage its data and metadata from the time of capture to final data set publication. In the years since initial publication, newly discovered leaves of the manuscript have been discovered, imaged, and added to the on-line archive. Since the publication of the SGP data set, subsequent projects have built on and refined the methods established by the SGP team by moving away from content-based file naming, establishing formal quality assurance practices, increasing automation in the creation and management of data and metadata, and including full bit-depth capture images in the digital product. PublicationSpectral Imaging Methods Applied to the Syriac Galen Palimpsest(2019-05-09) Easton, Roger L.; Knox, Keith T.; Christens-Barry, William A.; Boydston, KenThe spectral imaging techniques applied to the so-called “Syriac Galen palimpsest” in 2008-2010 are reported, including examples of results obtained. The imaging methods were adapted from those used on the Archimedes palimpsest during prior years, and are now comparatively elementary relative to methods that have been developed since. These recent advances will be outlined to demonstrate why improvements would be expected in newer imaging collections and processing. PublicationPulling It All Together: Managing the Syriac Galen Palimpsest Project(2019-05-09) Toth, MichaelDuring a two-year period, from 2009 to 2010, a multidisciplinary team conducted multispectral imaging, digital processing and data management of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest. This contractor-led team applied the turnkey multispectral imaging techniques developed in earlier advanced imaging projects to this palimpsest. This required new management techniques and work processes to provide useful results efficiently and quickly, while minimizing risk. In the initial risk-mitigation study phase, the team first imaged several leaves of the bound SGP in 2009 to characterize the imaging and processing challenges. Building on the findings from this first phase, they then imaged all the disbound leaves in 2010. Management of the SGP imaging and processing focused on integration of the people, processes and technology into an efficient imaging system. This included planning and managing the data flow, data replication, image processing and production of the image product while avoiding bottlenecks. With over 300 GB of data hosted for open access, this project provided opportunity for further study and collaboration, and multispectral imaging work processes used on subsequent programs. This access to the online images allowed a global team of scholars to conduct independent research, during which they also discovered leaves missing from the bound manuscript. PublicationThe Syriac Galen Palimpsest Project: An Introduction(2019-05-09) Noel, William; Rosen, Ralph M PublicationThe Syriac Galen Palimpsest: A Tale of Two Texts(2019-05-09) Afif, Naima; Bhayro, Siam; Kessel, Grigory; Poormann, Peter E.; Sellers, William I.; Smelova, NataliaThis article presents the Syriac Galen Palimpsest’s double history, of both the original manuscript and its subsequent reuse. The original medical manuscript contained Galen’s Book of Simple Drugs in Syriac translation, was probably produced in northern Mesopotamia or western Syria, and dates to the first half of the ninth century. After only two centuries, it was erased and reused to produce a liturgical text called Octṓēchos, probably at the monastery of Saint Elias on the Black Mountain. This palimpsest was later transferred to Saint Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai, where it remained for several centuries before being offered for sale in Leipzig in 1922 (perhaps due to the activities of Friedrich Grote). We pay close attention to the context, contents, codicology and palaeography of both the original manuscript and the palimpsest. We also contextualise both texts within the wider story of their transmission. Through the "skeleton" table we present the latest results of our almost complete identification of the undertext. We reconstruct the structure of the original codex through a collation diagram. We draw palaeographical parallels with a dated colophon of the well-known Sahdona-manuscript. This permits us to narrow done the time and place of production of the original manuscript. PublicationMapping Manuscript Migrations: Digging into Data for the History and Provenance of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts(2019-05-09) Burrows, Toby; Hyvönen, Eero; Ransom, Lynn; Wijsman, HannoMapping Manuscript Migrations is a new two-year project funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform in the fourth round of its Digging into Data Challenge. The project is a collaboration between four international partners: the University of Oxford, the University of Pennsylvania, the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT) in Paris, and Aalto University in Helsinki. The project aims to combine data from various different sources to enable the large-scale analysis of the history and provenance of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. PublicationPreserving Endangered Archives in Jerba, Tunisia: The al-Bāsī Family Library Pilot Project(2019-05-09) Boujdidi, Ali; Love, PaulIn July 2017, we launched a project entitled “Preserving Endangered Archives in Jerba, Tunisia: The al- Bāsī Family Library Pilot Project.”1 Generously supported by the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) funded by the British Library and Arcadia, the project aims at the digital preservation of the private Arabic manuscript library of the al- Bāsī family in the town of Houmet Souk on the island of Jerba in southern Tunisia. This report offers a brief history of the collection and its contents as well as a description of the project’s training efforts and aims. PublicationThe Textual Interest of the Syriac Versions of Galen’s Simples(2019-05-09) Calà, Irene; Daccache, Jimmy; Hawley, RobertAs a complement and supplement to the various articles in this issue devoted specifically to the manuscript olim Hiersemann 500/20, henceforth referred to as the “Syriac Galen Palimpsest”, or simply “SGP”, this article presents selected examples of how and why the undertext of SGP is important for scholarship, especially in disciplines beyond the confines of Syriac Christianity. Our examples are drawn from Sergius of Reš ʿAynā’s sixth century Syriac translation of Books VI-VIII of Galen of Pergamon’s important pharmacological treatise On simple drugs (hereafter “Simples”), which, as is well known, is found not only in SGP, but also and especially in another, older and better preserved manuscript, British Library Additional 14661 (hereafter “BL”). These selected examples illustrate two points (both of which require much further study in order to be elucidated fully): firstly, how the Greek text of Galen’s Simples, as published by Kühn, may in some cases be corrected on the basis of indirect textual evidence provided by Sergius’ Syriac translation, and secondly, how Sergius’ sixth century translation was to prove fundamental even centuries later, during the ʿAbbāsid translation movement centered in Baghdad.