Several travel grants were available for attendance of each COMSt workshop; occasionally calls were announced for travel grants towards the attendance of other COMSt-related conferences, where the organizers have applied with the COMSt steering committee. Below is the list of COMSt grantees in 2009-2014.
- Ancel, Stéphane (Hamburg University, Germany)
- Andrist, Patrick (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
- Brita, Antonella (University of Naples, Italy)
- Buzi, Paola (University of Rome, Italy)
- Cuppi, Lorenzo (University of Durham, UK)
- De Vries, Herre (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)
- Dege, Sophia (Hamburg University, Germany)
- Dekker, Renate (Leiden University, the Netherlands)
- Estève, Jean-Louis (l'École Supérieure Estienne des Arts et Industries Graphiques, France)
- Fani, Sara (University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy)
- Farina, Margherita (Pisa University, Italy)
- Gidena Mesfin (Hamburg University, Germany)
- Kavcic, Marijana (National and University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski", Skopje, Macedonia)
- Kessel, Gregory (Marburg University, Germany)
- Krzyzanowska, Magdalena (Hamburg University, Germany)
- Lacinakova, Maria (Comenius University, Bratislava, SK)
- Marx, Michael (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Germany)
- Naglaa Hamdi Dabee Boutros
- Nobili, Mauro (University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy)
- Nyström, Eva (Uppsala University, Sweden)
- Orsini, Pasquale (University of Venice Ca' Foscari, Italy)
- Petrella, Gaia (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)
- Pilette, Perrine (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium)
- Prada, Luigi (University of Oxford)
- Pratelli, Simone (University of Pisa, Italy)
- Raggetti, Lucia (University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy)
- Rodriguez, Luz (London, UK)
- Romanov, Maxim (Ann Arbor, MI)
- Ruani, Flavia (EPHE, Paris, France)
- Smelova, Natalia (Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia / The Warburg Institute, London, UK)
- Suciu, Alin (Université Laval, Quebec, Canada / Hamburg University, Germany)
- Tchernetska, Natalie (Riga, Latvia / Keio University, Tokyo, Japan / St. Petersburg, Russia)
- Villey, Emilie (Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Italy / Université de Caen, France)
- Vollandt, Ronny (Oxford Centre of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UK / CNRS, Paris, France)
A specialist in Ethiopian history, Dr. Stéphane Ancel is a researcher with the Ethio-SPaRe project (Hamburg University), where his main tasks are digitizing and cataloguing Ethiopian manuscripts. While analysing the texts and codicological characteristics of the manuscripts, he has to deal with a wide range of the practices of the Ethiopian scribes. The description of the binding, structure of the quires is accompanied by the definition of the characteristics of main texts and marginal notes, lay-out patterns, palaeographic features and illuminations. In addition, he carries out his individual research on Ethiopian manuscript (mostly analysis of the historical notes). A better knowledge of other manuscript cultures is thus crucial for his work and individual research. An opportunity for communication and sharing experience with scholars studying other manuscript traditions was provided by Dr Ancel's participation at the Workshop on The Oriental Book. The Shaping of the Page, the Scribe and the Illuminator at Work (Arles, October 2012), supported by a COMSt travel grant.
During the first session concerning the page layout and the special organisation, he was invited to present a contribution entitled "Some Biblical and Liturgical Books from East Tigray (North Ethiopa): Sizes, Proportions and Layouts". This communication aimed at presenting some characteristics concerning the sizes, the proportions and layouts of Ethiopian parchment manuscripts from the northern part of Ethiopia. It was based on the descriptions of manuscripts done in the database of the Ethio-SPaRe project. In fact, it represented the first attempt to analyse data concerning the sizes, the proportions and the layouts in Ethiopian manuscript culture.
In comparative perspective, it was extremely interesting for Dr Ancel to observe how the scribes of different manuscript cultures used the page and how they organised it. The large space devoted in the communications to the methodology used in the analysis of data was particularly useful for my personal work.
Dr. habil. Patrick Andrist was awarded with a COMSt travel grant to attend the workshop on the "Methods and means for digital analysis of ancient and medieval texts and manuscripts" (Leuven 2-3 April 2012) and present his paper on the Electronic catalogues of ancient manuscripts: between the wishes of the libraries and the needs of manuscript science. Based on some practical examples, this paper raised some theoretical questions about electronic catalogues of medieval codices. It compared the converging and diverging needs of the libraries and the manuscript scholars, and discussed what a correct representation of a manuscript should be, as far as manuscript science is concerned. It stressed the fact that a correct representation of a manuscript is an absolute prerequisite to any serious scientifical work on it, let it be to philology, art history, music or paper history, codicology, etc. As a result, it challenged the idea that a manuscript description and a manuscript catalogue are just a series of more or less correct data about a series of manuscripts and suggested approaches to digital cataloguing.
Dr. Andrist was able to receive valuable feedback on his paper and learn more about various interesting projects in Europe and their methodology. He took the chance to consult the holdings of the Leuven University Library and discuss further projects with the workshop host Caroline Macé. His paper will be published in the workshop proceedings.
Dr. Antonella Brita received travel grants to attend and participate in the discussions during the COMSt Launch Conference (Hamburg, DE, Dec. 2009), the workshop on Digital Support for Manuscript Analysis (Hamburg, DE, July 2010) and the workshop on the Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts (Leuven, BE, Oct. 2010) in the framework of her post-doctoral research project Textual analysis of the hagiographical tales concerning the second Christianization of Ethiopia.
During her visits, Dr. Brita could (1) introduce her research project to the scholarly community (esp. COMSt Philology team); (2) consult scientists and computer scientists on the options offered by their fields of expertise to critical editions and (3) learn about current trends in philology and exchange ideas as to the treatment of large corpora and so-called "fluid traditions". Thanks also to her involvement in COMSt, Dr. Brita was offered a research associate's position within the newly established Centre for the Studies in Manuscript Cultures (Hamburg University).
Dr. Paola Buzi received travel grant to attend the COMSt Launch Conference (Hamburg, DE, Dec. 2009) in the framework of her research project Cataloguing the Borgia Coptic mss. preserved in the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library of Naples and in the Apostolic Vatican Library.
During her visit, Dr. Buzi could present her ongoing cataloguing project to the Cataloguing COMSt team and receive the necessary feedback to conclude the Catalogue's preparation for publication (s. bibliography in Attachment 6). As a result of her visit, Dr. Buzi was invited to join the COMSt network and was offered an eventual co-leadership of Team 4: Cataloguing. She is now one of the editors of the COMSt Handbook (Cataloguing chapter) as well as a contributor to the Codicology team.
Dr. Buzi was also invited to join the Hamburg team of the Union Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts (KOHD) for cataloguing Coptic manuscripts in German libraries, within which framework she has prepared catalogue volume.
Lorenzo Cuppi was awarded a short-visit grant to be able to travel to the workshop on Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts (Leuven, Oct. 2010) to present and discuss his PhD research on The Double Translations in the Septuagint Proverbs.
During the workshop, Mr Cuppi actively participated in the discussion of text critical methodologies and used the opportunity to discuss future collaboration with the host, Dr. Caroline Macé, on the research concerning some spurious philosophical works in the Damascene corpus which are at the moment unedited or badly edited. Mr Cuppi's contribution would specifically focus on the quest for manuscripts.
The feedback Mr Cuppi received during his visit has been reflected in his publications, 'Due frammenti dei Proverbi greci nel bodleiano Auctarium T. 2. 4 183-184v. Descrizione e collazione', in Mitteilungen des Septuaginta-Unternehmens (2011); 'The Treatment of Personal Names in the Book of Proverbs from the Septuagint to the Masoretic Text', Proceedings of ESAJS 2010, (Leuven: Peteers, forthcoming) and 'Concerning the Origin of the Addition Found in ProvLXX 1:7', Proceedings of the IOSCS 2010 (Society of Biblical Literature, forthcoming). Following his active participation in the works of the Philology team, Mr Cuppi was invited to join the team on a permanent basis and contribute to the COMSt Handbook chapter on Philology, and was offered a post-doctoral position at the Catholic University of Leuven. He published his research summary in the COMSt Newsletter 3 (2012).
Mr De Vries works at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library), together with an Italian conservator Gaia Petrella, another COMSt grantee, for the conservation of 48 Persian and Turkish manuscripts from its collection. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is funding the conservation of the manuscripts and has also selected them, based on their importance for the cultural history and identity of Azerbaijan. The COMSt network awarded Mr De Vries with a travel grant towards the attending of the workshop on "The Oriental Book" (Arles, Oct. 2012), in particularly the second part of it organized by the COMSt team 5: Conservation and Preservation.
With his visit to the COMst workshop Mr De Vries sought to root their joint observations during this project in a wider and deeper base of knowledge by sharing their experiences with both conservators and codicologists. The workshop papers and exchange contributed to his building a solid base for his approaching the work and making balanced decisions while carrying out conservation treatments.
Sophia Dege was given the opportunity to attend the workshop on Specific Issues in Oriental Philology (Athens, Dec. 2011) to inspire her PhD research on the New critical edition, translation and commentaries of the Aksimaros. She then presented her research at the workshop Oriental Textual Traditions and 21st-cent. Philology: New challenges (Leuven, Sept. 2012) towards the attendance of which she was awarded another COMSt travel grant. She had previously attended the COMSt Launch Conference (Hamburg, Dec. 2009), the workshop on Digital Support to Manuscript Analysis (Hamburg, July 2010) and the workshop on Oriental Book Materials (Pisa, Nov. 2010) at her own expense (or supported by her own tutor).
In Athens, Ms Dege discussed the methodologies of critical edition with the workshop participants, esp. S. Moureau (to present on Options and Formats for the Apparatus Criticus), and approaches to editing texts showing little variations (esp. with H. Lundhaug) and translated texts (esp. with L. Sels). In Leuven, she for the first time had the chance to publically present her dissertation research and collect valuable feedback. She particularly appreciated the part devoted to the presentation of the available digital tools. At least three of the tools presented (Classical Text Editor; T-Pen transcription tool and Juxta collation software) shall be useful for her in her dissertation work.
She published a description of her research project in the COMSt Newsletter 2 (2011), pp. 4-5.
Ms Renate Dekker was awarded a travel grant towards the attendance of the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies (Rome, Sept. 2012). On this occasion, she could present the results of her research so far: a new relative chronology of a Late Antique settlement of hermits in Western Thebes, near modern Luxor, which is known as the "Monastery" or "Topos" ("sacred place") of Epiphanius on account of its best known inhabitant. This chronology is an important tool for her PhD-research on the social networks of two local bishops, Abraham of Hermonthis and Pesynthios of Koptos, who both maintained close ties with the hermits at the Topos.
Using the opportunity of the conference, Ms Dekker wanted to search for Coptic documents in the manuscript collections of Rome, hoping to find more texts relating to Bishop Pesynthios. It came out that no relevant manuscripts are kept in Rome; however, knowing that there are no Pexynthios papyri either in Rome or in Vitelli Institute in Florence, is a research result in itself.
Ms Dekker further wanted to coordinate her research on the Encomium on Bishop Pesynthios with the international community of Coptic scholars, in the first line Alberto Camplani, who is editing another text from the Topos of Epiphanius (Canons attributed to Basilius of Caesarea). Attending the related paper Ms Dekker learnt that the colophon preserved in the Canons sheds some light on the history of the entire group of books discovered at the hermitage.
Ms Dekker had fruitful discussions throughout the congress, also on topics not directly related to her research. Her paper will be published in the conference proceedings.
Prof. J.-L. Estève was provided with the grants to attend the workshop on the Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010) and the workshop Towards an Ideal Chapter on Manuscript Cataloguing (Frankfurt, June 2011). His current research project is entitled Les caractéistiques matéielles des papiers fabriqués dans le monde arabo-islamique depuis l'Asie centrale jusqu'à l'Espagne du sud entre 750 et 1350 (Islamic papers since 751 to 1350).
One of the principal specialists on the user of paper in Islamic manuscripts and printing, Dr. Estève could offer an invaluable input to the discussion during both workshops he was invited to attend. The comparative perspective he received will be used by Dr. Estève in his further studies.
Sara Fani was invited to attend the workshop Towards an Ideal Chapter on Oriental Manuscript Cataloguing (Frankfurt, June 2011) as a formative experience for her PhD research project on Le arti del libro secondo le fonti arabe originali: loro importanza per una corretta valutazione e conservazione del patrimonio manoscritto. Ms Fani has been working on updating the catalogue of Arabic manuscripts in the Central National Library of Florence by providing information on the conservation status. Her survey has already been used as an example by the Conservation and Preservation team (during the workshops in Istanbul  and Leiden  Ms Fani was invited to attend as a speaker).
It seemed important that Ms Fani's understanding of the cataloguing process is increased by her participation in the Frankfurt workshop and by the possibility to get in touch with the scholars - including those with the experience in cataloguing Arabic manuscripts - attending the science meetings. Her experience will be applied to her work on digitization and description of the Arabic manuscripts of the Central National Library of Florence she will conduct within the framework of the MANUMED research network, a partner of COMSt. A description of her conservative census was published in the COMSt Newsletter 2 (2011), pp. 5-6.
Multi-Language Use, Organizational Structure and Orality in Ethiopian Medicinal and Magical Manuscripts. This study will focus on the patterns of multi-language use, organizational structure and orality of Ethiopian medical and magical manuscripts with the aim of exploring their textual transmission, the contribution of oraltraditional knowledge in the application and preservation of medical and magical procedures, and attempting an overall textual synthesis of the treatises. Data will be collected from private collections, churches and monasteries in Ethiopia, and from libraries and museums both in Ethiopia and abroad. The data will be analyzed using philological methods and, where appropriate, appealing to historical linguistics (sound changes, etymological connections and semantic shifts).
Dr. Margherita Farina was granted financial help for attending the workshop on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, October 2011) to present the results of her research on the "Material aspects of the Syriac collection of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence", conducted within the framework of the project "Catalogazione aggiornata dei manoscritti siriaci della Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana di Firenze", in which Dr. Farina has been involved since 2009. She had already significantly contributed to the workshop on the Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, November 2010).
Since little first-hand research on the codicological aspects of Syriac manuscripts exists, Dr Farina's was an invaluable contribution to the workshops, and the updated catalogue she will be completing by the end of the year 2011 in cooperation with Prof. Pier Giorgio Borbone will certainly be a step forward in our knowledge of the making of the Syriac book, as well as an example of a modern cataloguer's work, sensitive to both philological and codicological aspects of book description.
Gidena Mesfin was awarded a travel grant towards attending the workshop on the Oriental Textual Traditions and 21st-cent. Philology: New challenges (Leuven, 2012). On this occasion he had the chance to present his ongoing dissertation research. During the workshop he had the chance to exchange with the international scholarly community and to learn about the use possibility of the Classical Text Editor, a tool he is planning on using in his work.
Marijana Kavcic is a librarian and curator of Oriental manuscripts, whose main activity focus is the cataloguing of Arabic manuscripts in Macedonian collections. After attending at her own expense the workshop on Digital Support to Manuscript Analysis (Hamburg, July 2010) she was awarded a travel grant to enable her participation in the workshop on the Evolution of the Descriptive Criteria (Uppsala, Sept. 2010).
The main purpose for Ms Kavcic's visit was to get in touch with the European experts in the field and get acquainted with their practices. As a result, Ms Kavcic said that she might have to re-evaluate her own cataloguing practice, and establish a closer cooperation with scholars involved in the similar fields of research. An article for a Macedonian librarian magazine is projected where the COMSt activities in general and its Team 4 activities in particular will be presented.
Dr. Gregory Kessel was awarded travel grants to attend the workshop on Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010), on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011) and on the Specific Issues in Oriental Philology (Athens, Dec. 2011). He additionally attended the workshop Towards an Ideal Chapter on Manuscript Cataloguing (Frankfurt, June 2011) at his own expense. On these occasions, he had the opportunity to discuss his post-doctorate research on Syriac monastic anthologies as a source for the history of Syriac Christianity: reception and transmission of Syriac and Greek monastic literature, already described on the pages of the COMSt Newsletter 1 (2011), p. 10.
Dr. Kessel noted the general lack of codicological research in Syriac studies and used the workshops of the Codicology team to learn from the neighbouring disciplines, in particular since "the progress in the study of Syriac manuscripts can be facilitated by means of comparative analysis with other Oriental manuscript traditions" and "a proper study of the Syriac manuscripts can not be considered as successful without taking into account specific features of such traditions as Armenian, Arabic, Byzantine and Coptic". He will be applying the know-how of these latter fields to the field of Syriac manuscript studies in his research, especially as far as the interrelation between the codicology (book materials, forms and layout) and the content (choice of texts) is concerned. A first result was his talk at the Symposium Syriacum (Malta, July 2012) on the Manuscript Collection of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Meryem Ana in Diyarbakir; the attendance was also supported by a COMSt travel grant.
Besides, the COMSt workshops have inspired Dr. Kessel to starting research on codicological terminology used in original Syriac sources; the article is being prepared for publication. His acquaintance with other Oriental manuscript traditions will facilitate his future work on the cataloguing of Syriac and Christian Arabic manuscripts for the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library. He has since been invited to attend the COMSt workshop on "Oriental Textual Traditions and 21st-century Philology" (Leuven, September 2012) and to contribute to the COMSt Handbook in the chapter dedicated to the issues of Philology (with a case study on Syriac monastic literature).
Ms Krzyzanowska was awarded a COMSt travel grant to attend the workshop on "The Oriental book. The Shaping of the Page, the Scribe and the Illuminator at Work" (Arles, Oct. 2012). Ms Krzyzanowska was particularly interested in the session dedicated to the activity of writing. During the work within the Ethio-SPaRe project she tried to get familiarized with the work of local scribes in such places as Mäqäle, Qorrar and Qäqäma. Most of them were eager to give an interview, show the tools they utilize as well as present the art/craft of writing. We know little about scribal work in Ethiopia - and in the Orient in general - and her contribution created a new state-of-the-art in the field.
By attending the session Ms Krzyzanowska at the same time had the chance to increase her knowledge of the scribal work in other manuscript cultures and, as a result, design a better questionnaire used during encounters with Ethiopian scribes.
Ms Lacináková was awarded a travel grant to attend the workshop "Oriental Textual Traditions and 21st-century Philology" (Leuven, September 2012). On that occasion, she could for the first time introduce to the scholarly community her dissertation project dedicated to the edition of al-Kisa'i's Kitab 'aja'ib al-malakut, with the analysis of sources. The work is in its initial stages, and it was extremely helpful for Ms Lacináková to learn about the standards of critical edition, of apparatus layout, and of the state-of-the-art of knowledge on the text she has been researching (available manuscripts are considerably more than what Ms Lacináková had expected, and there already is an ongoing critical edition, of which the first volume has been published by Shemuel Tamari and Yoel Koch as Kitab Ajaib Al-Malakut: A Comprehensively Annotated Edition and Critical Revision of Al-Ajaib Wa'l-Gharaib Genre, 2005).
The workshop exchange was thus very fruitful for Ms Lacináková's research.
After Dr. Michael Marx attended the workshop on Digital Support to Manuscript Analysis (Hamburg, July 2010) at his own expense, he was awarded short-visit grants to attend the Evolution of the Descriptive Criteria workshop (Uppsala, Sept. 2010) and the meeting on the Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts (Leuven, Oct. 2010), where he could present the achievements of the Corpus Coranicum research project of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.
During the Uppsala Cataloguing workshop, Dr. Marx presented the Corpus Coranicum database of Qur'anic manuscripts. He particularly appreciated the opportunity of scholarly exchange with the representatives of other fields of Oriental studies, and learnt a lot from the presentations of M. Driscoll, a specialist in XML encoding. During his visit to the Uppsala University library, Dr. Marx discovered a previously unpublished work of a Swedisch scholar E.V. Nordling on the Qur'an, which will now be incorporated into the Corpus Coranicum bibliography, possibly with the help of a COMSt member proficient in Swedish. During the Philology meeting in Leuven Dr. Marx presented the project's progess towards the Critical Edition of the Qur'an. Two young project members who were funded by the Berlin Academy (H. Gurtmann, T. Khademalsharieh) additionally discussed the questions of transliteration and graphic reconstruction of palimpsests.
Dr. Marx has been since invited to join Team 2 on a permanent basis, and will be hosting one of the forthcoming COMSt science meetings (2012). He will contribute an overview about digital philology in the field of Qur'anic studies for the COMSt handbook.
Naglaa Hamdi Dabee Boutros (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium / Institut des études coptes, Cairo, Egypt)
Dr. Naglaa Hamdi Dabee Boutros was awarded a COMSt travel grant to attend the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies (Rome, Sept. 2012). On this occasion, she presented the results of his ongoing research on L'Histoire des Patriarches d'Alexandrie: Entre recension primitive et recension vulgate, existe-t-il une recension intermédiaire? Remarques préliminaires. She presented an overview of manuscript witnesses of each of the two main recensions and focused his attention on the version transmitted in manuscript Paris arabe 302, which seems to present an intermediary between the two. On the basis of several examples she demonstrated that we might have to reconsider the textual history of the History of the Patriarchs. Her paper shall appear in the Conference proceedings.
Dr. Mauro Nobili, working on the Cataloguing the de Gironcourt Collection of West African Manuscripts, was awarded grants to attend the workshop on Digital Support to Manuscript Analysis (Hamburg, July 2010), the Evolution of the Descriptive Criteria workshop (Uppsala, Sept. 2010) and the workshop Towards an Ideal Chapter on Oriental Manuscript Cataloguing (Frankfurt, June 2011). He additionally participated in the workshop of the Codicology team on Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010) at his own expense.
Dr. Nobili found particularly inspiring the knowledge of the technical means one could use in digitizing and analyzing manuscripts as presented during the Hamburg workshop. In Uppsala, he provided input to the discussion as to the change of cataloguing principles after the introduction of a digital paradigm. In Frankfurt, he offered a particularly valuable remark in the discussion of the definition of the codex (the question of the manuscripts composed of loose leaves) as well as the definition of "Oriental" and "Arabic" in the case of manuscripts in other languages and regions using the Arabic script.
A description of Dr. Nobili's project appeared in the COMSt Newsletter 1 (2011), pp. 10-11. Besides, he has submitted a two-part research article on the "Manuscript culture of West Africa", of which the first part appeared in COMSt Newsletter 2 (2011), pp. 21-24. Thanks to the contacts established during the COMSt activities, Dr. Nobili has been offered a post-doc grant at the newly founded Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at Hamburg University.
After attending the workshop on the Evolution of the Descriptive Criteria workshop (Uppsala, Sept. 2010), Dr. Eva Nyström was awarded a grant to attend the workshop on Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010) in order to elaborate on her project of A web-based catalogue of Greek manuscripts in Sweden. During the workshop, Dr. Nyström had the chance to learn from the colleagues working in other countries and in other related fields.
Following her participation in the workshop, she submitted an application for a three-year project dedicated to Digitization and Cataloguing of Greek Manuscripts in Sweden to the Bank of Sweden Tercentary Foundation; in October 2011 the application was approved, and Dr. Nyström will be using the COMSt input in her further cataloguing work.
Dr. Pasquale Orsini received a grant to attend the workshop on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011). His main research focus is Byzantine-Greek manuscripts, esp. of 4th-11th cent. He is particularly interested in the history of the Greek majuscules; in the comparative study of Greek and Coptic majuscules; in palaeography and codicology of the oldest Christian book production; in cataloguing (both on traditional paper media and online catalogues) of Greek and Latin manuscripts; as well as in development of new research tools and technologies for the study of Greek manuscripts.
He attended the workshop in order to learn the modern comparative method applied to the material aspects of manuscripts from different cultural areas, and to enrich his experience in the field, as well as to get in touch with other scholars working on Oriental codicology and palaeography. Besides learning about the differences in manuscript production in the geo-cultural areas covered, Dr. Orsini used the chance to intensify his collaboration with Dr. Willy Clarisse (BE) on analysing a selection of Nag Hammadi codices. He could also establish a new research partnership with Dr. Ira Rabin (DE), with whom he will be joingly conducting and publishing a research on the dating of the Greek "Minor Prophets Scroll" from Nahal Hever (publ. Discoveries of Judaean Desert vol. 8), where palaeographic observations (Orsini) will be combined with the results of scientific laboratory analysis (Rabin).
Ms Gaia Petrella has been working with the co-grantee Herre de Vries on the conservation of Arab, Turkish and Persian manuscripts in the collection of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. She was awarded a travel grant to attend the workshop on "The Oriental Book" (Arles, Oct. 2012) organized by the teams Codicology and Conservation, with a particular interest in the Bookbinding session organized by team Conservation.
The Islamic collection of the Vatican Library is secondly only to the Ambrosiana in Italy. The project sponsored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is organized as a minimum intervention and an archeological bookbinding approach. The books are in different condition of conservation and with different features. Seventeen of them have been rebound in Western bookbindings, of which five within the Vatican Library. Of the others 29 are still in Islamic bindings and two are miscellaneous unbound folia and quires.
During the workshop, Ms Petrella had the chance to exchange with other conservators working on Oriental manuscripts and compare survey and preservation methodologies.
Ms Perrine Pilette was awarded a grant to attend the workshop on the Evolution of Descriptive Criteria (Uppsala, Sept. 2010). She additionally attended at her own expense the workshop on Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts (Leuven, Oct. 2010) as well as the one on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011). Her current doctoral research is devoted to the Arabic text of the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria.
Beside working on the text critical edition, Ms Pilette has been involved in the European MANUMED project, where she was developing a method for quickly cataloguing Arabic manuscripts ("checklist method"). To this end, she found particularly informative the workshop of the Cataloguing team and the discussion of the possible descriptive criteria to be applied to catalogues created for different purposes.
Ms Pilette has since had a chance to present her PhD project to the COMSt community during a panel within the Textual Criticism workshop, as well as on the pages of the COMSt Newsletter 1 (2011), p. 11.
With the support from the COMSt network in the form of a travel grant, Dr Luigi Prada could attend the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies (Rome, 17–22 September 2012) and present his research on the study and publication of P. Duke inv. 244, a bifolium from a Coptic parchment codex. This manuscript can be dated to the IX century or shortly later, and, despite its damaged condition, it preserves parts of a homily of great interest. The text is unknown from other sources, and is therefore unattributed.
Dr Prada had the opportunity to receive feedback and discuss his research with leading experts in the field of Coptic philology, literature, and codicology, which proved highly beneficial to my scholarly investigations on pDuke inv. 244. His networking with the scholars working on Shenoute gave him more reasons to believe that the text in pDuke inv. 244 may have been authored by Shenoute (IV–V century), one of the fathers of the Coptic church. His paper will be published in the conference proceedings.
Mr Simone Pratelli was invited to discuss his project on the Problems with Syriac manuscripts description and cataloguing during the COMSt Launch Conference (Hamburg, Dec. 2009). He subsequently attended at his own expense the workshop on the Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010).
On the first occasion, Mr Pratelli had the occasion to obtain a more precise idea about the principal academic centres interested in the project and about the theoretical models, the actual practices and the tools involved in the organization and in the carrying out of research. He noted that the central challenge for Oriental studies is still the outlining of a formalized, effective and interdisciplinary methodology, as many are the scientific fields and the practices involved: while codicology and cataloguing on one hand and textual criticism and digital philology on the other can work side by side and find a common ground, this is still far from being actual in the case of codicology and philology, also because the respective results and data are not always put into account by scholars.
Ms Lucia Raggetti was awarded travel grants to attend the workshops on Digital Support to Manuscript Analysis (Hamburg, July 2010) and the Evolution of the Descriptive Criteria workshop (Uppsala, Sept. 2010). She subsequently attended at her own expense the workshops on Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts (Leuven, Oct. 2010) and on Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010). She will be additionally receiving a short-visit grant to travel to the Specific Issues in Oriental Philology workshop (Athens, Dec. 2011).
On these occasions, Ms Raggetti had the occasion to discuss her PhD project on the Study of an Arabic manuscript tradition on animals' medical properties (the Kitab Man?fi' al-?ayaw?n) with the specialists working in different fields of Oriental manuscript studies. She presented her project during a panel session of the Textual Criticism workshop and has published two papers in two different COMSt Newsletter issues.
Ms Luz Rodriguez is an independent art historian who specialises in cataloguing manuscripts in Arabic script. She has been cooperating with The Islamic Manuscript Association and the Index Islamicus Journal. Her particular focus has been on Persian Manuscripts of the 15th and 16th century and she has been working with them at the British Library since 2006. She received a grant to travel to the workshop on Conservation Studies on Oriental Manuscripts held in Istanbul (Dec. 2010).
During the workshop discussions, Ms Rodriguez could provide input on her field of expertise, that would have otherwise remained uncovered during the meeting. On the other hand, she could gain insight into the conservation practices used in different Oriental traditions discussed during the workshop. She will be using her knowledge in her further library and cataloguing work.
Mr Maxim Romanov is a PhD candidate in Arabic and Islamic Studies whose main research interests are historiography and prosopography of classical Islam and the application of digital tools in studying history. In his current research, he focuses on the social history of pre-modern Islamic public preaching. For that, he has been digitally analyzing Arabic chronicles and biographical dictionaries using a complex research software designed specifically for his project. With the help of a COMSt travel grant Mr Romanov was able to present his research method to the participants of the workshop on the "Methods and means for digital analysis of ancient and medieval texts and manuscripts" (Leuven, April 2-3, 2012).
In addition to a great opportunity to present his work on creating a digital history of pre-modern Muslim world, Mr Romanov evaluated the opportunity as a so-needed chance to discuss his work with other scholars who participated in the workshop, learn about the work of his colleagues from all over Europe and the U. S. A. Altogether, this gave him a better understanding of where the growing field of Oriental digital philology is methodologically and what issues interest other scholars.
A paper summarizing his method appeared in the COMSt Newsletter 4 (2012); an extended version was published in the Leuven workshop proceedings.
After Ms Flavia Ruani attended, at her own expense, the workshop on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011), she was awarded a short-visit grant to attend the workshop on the Specific Issues in Oriental Philology (Athens, Dec. 2011). The workshop represented for her a moment of exchange about her PhD research, the critical edition of the apocryphal Syriac History of Philip the apostle and evangelist, based on seven manuscripts (13th century c. - 18th century c. A.D.). For this apocryphal text, she and her co-researchers deal also with an Arabic tradition well attested (9th century c. A.D.); furthermore, a Greek source could be at the origin of the Syriac History.
By attending this workshop, Ms Ruani had the possibility to share with the other participants the information collected and the difficulties met during this critical edition experience and hence contribute to the discussion about the issues which concern these important tasks related to the Oriental manuscripts (apparatus criticus, textual criticism, translation models and philology).
Ms Ruani was subsequently awarded a travel grant to attend the Symposium Syriacum (Malta, July 2012) where she delivered two papers on the history of manuscripts of the History of the Apostle Philip and on data-bases of Syriac manuscripts. The papers will appear in the conference proceedings.
Smelova, Natalia (Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia / The Warburg Institute, London, UK)
Dr. Natalia Smelova has been working for several years on paleography and codicology of Syriac manuscripts preserved at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St Petersburg. She has been working on a revised catalogue of the Syriac manuscripts, having most recently focused her research on an 8th-century estrangelo manuscript of the Homiliae Cathedrales by Severus of Antioch in Syriac translation (version) of James of Edessa (with fragments in two different depositories of Oriental manuscripts in St Petersburg). In this connection, Dr. Smelova was particularly interested in attending the workshop on Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010), in order to get acquainted with the most recent research on the codicology and palaeography of Oriental Christian, and particularly Syriac, manuscripts: the evolution of writing material and the type of writing, the principles of dating manuscripts written on parchment, and the rules of codicological reconstruction of partially preserved manuscripts, for which she was awarded a travel grant.
Dr Smelova was also awarded a grant to attend the second workshop of the Codicology team dedicated to the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011), as at that time she was focusing her research on a corpus of Melkite liturgical rolls, one of them preserved in St Petersburg in a very good condition and other 24 rolls discovered in St Catherine's Monastery on Sinai in 1975 and was particularly interested in the process of making and in the history of use of liturgical rolls in the Syriac and other Oriental Christian traditions (especially Georgian) in the context of development and transformation of the form of roll from the Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Dr Smelova will be using the knowledge she acquired during the workshops both in her research on paleography and codicology of particular Syriac and Armenian manuscripts in the collections of St Petersburg, and in her work as a curator at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She has acknowledged the COMSt experience in the chapters on the Syriac, Armenian and Georgian manuscripts in St Petersburg she wrote for the catalogue of a major manuscript exhibition which will take place in the State Hermitage Museum in 2012. A description of one of her research projects appeared in COMSt Newsletter 3 (2012).
Mr Alin Suciu was awarded with a COMSt travel grant to present his research at the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies (Rome, 17–22 September 2012). On this occasion, Mr Suciu was able to present three papers.
The first, "Newly Identified Fragments From the Fayyumic and Sahidic Versions of the Bible" discussed three previously unidentified fragments from a Fayyumic Gospel manuscript. According to Anne Boud'hors, who published several studies about it, this codex seems to have contained at least the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John. During his research Mr Suciu identified a new fragment from the Gospel of John (chaps. 17:26-18:10), which is currently housed in the National Library in Paris. The papyrus collection of the National Library of Vienna has in its turn a couple of pieces torn from the same parchment codex. The two small fragments are inventoried as K 2722 and K 2724. Six more Biblical fragments are kept today in the Trinity College in Dublin.
In the second talk, delivered together with Tito Orlandi, Mr Suciu proposed a new perspective on the destruction of White Monastery Library. He showed that many White Monastery parchment fragments actually bear signs of trauma and mutilation done by human hand. It is possible that, at a certain point in the Arabic period, suppressing the monastic libraries was considered to be a necessity in order to extinguish Christian culture in Egypt.
In a third paper, together with Louis Painchaud, Mr Suciu introduced two new fragments from the so-called Codex Tchacos. They belong to the writing conventionally called Allogenes, which immediately follows the Gospel of Judas in Codex Tchacos. One of them is especially interesting as it helps us to recover some of the opening lines of this gnostic text.
Dr. Natalie Tchernetska had the possibility to discuss her research project on Greek-Oriental manuscripts from the Tischendorf collection with the COMSt collaborating colleagues thanks to a short-visit grant to the workshop on Book Materials in Oriental Cultures (Pisa, Nov. 2010). The Tischendorf manuscripts come from different monastic libraries in the Near East and are dispersed today between five European libraries (Leipzig, Oxford, London, Cambridge, and St Petersburg); often they are documented inadequately; many have never been studied. Yet, understanding their nature and contents can advance our knowledge of literacy, literary activity, and book production and circulation in the region, which in some periods played the leading role in the transmission of Greek culture.
During the workshop, Dr. Tchernetska could learn about materials used in production of Oriental manuscripts, made numerous connections with scholars in the field, and contributed to the discussions about palimpsesting practices, a topic she had been working on since 1997, and about different materials used for copying Byzantine manuscripts. Dr. Tchernetska also shared her experience working for the Archimedes Palimpsest project, in the course of which information on all aspects of palimpsest-making has been accumulated (chemical and physical preparation of parchment, writing materials, ruling and binding techniques, illustrations, etc.
In 2012, Dr Tchernetska received a COMSt travel grant to attend the workshop The electronic revolution? The impact of the digital on cataloguing (Copenhagen, June 2012). The Archimedes Palimpsest project concerns a 13th century Byzantine prayer book made of reused parchment from at least six older manuscripts. The palimpsest includes three groups of rare or even unique texts: works by Archimedes, two speeches by Hyperides, and an otherwise unknown philosophical commentary on Aristotle Categories. The manuscript is catalogued in a printed form (CUP, 2011), but images, transcriptions, and metadata are available online. That raises many questions about relations between the two forms of catalogues. Besides, she is planning a printed and online catalogue of the manuscripts from the Tischendorf collection.
In the course of the workshop, she learned about XML encoding language and possibilities it offers; about the newest TEI standards; made numerous connections with scholars in the field; and contributed to the discussions about relations between printed and digital catalogues. She consolidated her contacts with COMST members (M.Maniaci, Cassino; C.Macé, Leuven; J.Gippert, Frankfurt), and made valuable new contacts (with A.Bausi, Hamburg; F.Deroche, Paris, M. Driscoll, Copenhagen, E. Pierazzo, London etc.). This scholarly interaction she noted will be useful for her work - short and medium term on the Greek Oriental manuscripts from the Tischendorf collection, on the Archimedes Palimpsest, and long-term on other Greek Oriental manuscripts.
Ms Emilie Villey is preparing, within the framework of her PhD research, a part of the critical edition of The History of Philip the apostle and evangelist; she is at the same time a collaborator of the project SYRAB (Ecrit et écriture dans la formation des identités en monde syriaque et arabe IIIe - VIIe s.).
In the SYRAB project, Ms Villey has been put in charge of the codicological manuscript descriptions to be integrated into the international database of Syriac manuscripts. In this connection, she was awarded a travel grant that enabled her to take part in the round table discussions of the workshop on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011).
Ms Villey will be incorporating the knowledge she obtained during the workshop into her work within the SYRAB project. She has particularly emphasized that it was new to her that "There is not one Hebraic kind of manuscripts, nor one kind of Greek page preparation: it all depends of the time in which the manuscript was made, as well as it depend of the country of production". She also came to the realization that while one of the Syriac manuscripts she was using for the edition of the History of Philip was classified as a Melkite, after what was discussed in Nice it seems not likely, as the manuscript shows regular Syriac quinion quires composed from the 13th century (and not the 9th century Melkite structure showing strong Byzantine influence).
Ms Villey was awarded a short-visit grant to attend the meeting on the Specific Issues in Oriental Philology (Athens, Dec. 2011), where she was able to discuss the various approaches to producing a critical edition of a text existing in several traditions (multi-lingual tradition). The papers of the workshop (esp. the one by Torres Prieto) gave her clarity in as to how to treat textual variants in the apparatus of her forthcoming critical edition.
She was then awarded with a travel grant to attend the COMSt-connected Symposium Syriacum (Malta, July 2012), where she could, together with Flavia Ruani (another COMSt grantee) present the current state of her work towards a critical edition of the Syriac History of Philip. She also presented the work progress on the SYRAB database of Syriac manuscripts (the integrated materials include Manuscripts of the French Collection, Charfet Collection and Hagiographical Manuscripts from Different Collections).
She could present the recent findings concerning the codicology of Syriac manuscripts to the COMSt community thanks to the travel grant to the workshop on the "Oriental Book" (Arles, October 2012).
Dr Ronny Vollandt was awarded with a short-visit grant to the workshop on the Making of the Oriental Book (Nice, Oct. 2011) where he could discuss the planning of his post-doctoral project dealing with the emergence and transmission of the Judaeo-Arabic Pentateuch Translation of Rav Saadiah Gaon. It will be exclusively based on manuscripts, stemming from a variety of collections. The evident impact of this materiality on the transmission of Saadiah's translation itself, and the text's influence on the physical forms in which it was embodied, are one of the most promising fields. A study of the interaction between the different text types of the translation and its characteristic as a material object will also permit to understand the social and cultural environments it was used, one of the core questions of the project.
Dr Vollandt reported that the overview of bookmaking traditions in the Near East, in particular as far as manuscripts in Hebrew script are concerned, was for him not only of purely codicological importance, but may in fact assist his study of the transmission history. For example, whereas the text in its original Judaeo-Arabic form is found in codices exhibiting the specific hallmarks of Jewish book production, codicological features would change with its adaptation to Syriac-Orthodox and Coptic contexts. As it were, each absorbing community would apply its own specific techniques. Once these distinctive characteristics may be distinguished, also valuable information in regard to unattributed manuscripts may be obtained. The various contributions during the workshop have thus equipped me with the necessary tools for a promising direction in research.
Dr. Vollandt is planning long-term collaboration with COMSt scholars working in the field of Oriental codicology; a description of his research project was published in COMSt Newsletter 3 (2012).