Workshop II: ancient Papyrus making with Myriam Krutzsch and Chinese scroll production with Mark Barnard [Dec. 2016]

3 December 2016 – Mellon Sawyer Seminar Hands On Session

Myriam Krutzsch examining the raw papyrus stalk.
Our finished Mellon Sawyer papyrus rolls.

PAPYRUS PRODUCTION
Papyrus making and Chinese scroll production were on the docket for the Mellon Sawyer December Hands On workshop. Myriam Krutzsch, papyrus conservator at the Aegyptisches Museum [Berlin] started the day off with a brief intro to papyrus production at the UI Center for the Book’s papermaking studio. Continue reading Workshop II: ancient Papyrus making with Myriam Krutzsch and Chinese scroll production with Mark Barnard [Dec. 2016]

Seminar – How were ancient religious texts best passed down, orally or in writing?

Friday 16 September 2016 – Mellon Sawyer Lecture

Shai Secunda is the Jacob Neusner Professor in the History and Theology of Judaism at Bard College – a recent move from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he flew in from for his Mellon Sawyer lecture in September. Secunda’s lecture, “‘You May Not Communicate Oral Matters in Writing’: Writing and its Absence in the Transmission of Rabbinic and Zoroastrian Texts,” addressed questions concerning the move from an oral tradition of textual transmission to a written one in eastern late antiquity [watch the lecture here]. 

2-secunda-pis-dilley-tachau-barrett-cropped
Paul Dilley [PI], Katherine Tachau [PI], Shai Secunda, Tim Barrett [PI]

How, when and why did oral texts get written down? One may think that an oral tradition of preserving scriptural knowledge would be less precise than a written textual one. Writing, in the western Christian tradition, has long been held up as the best way to preserve [and control] sacred texts. It fixed them and allowed them to be controlled by Roman Christian imperial and early Church authorities. Beyond manuscript writing even, the printing press was hailed as a tool that could further standardize Christian texts like the Bible in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Committing the text to print, instead of manuscript writing, could more firmly fix it in place so that it could not be altered by the unauthorized user. But how were texts best preserved and maintained in the ancient near east? Continue reading Seminar – How were ancient religious texts best passed down, orally or in writing?

Workshop I: Getting hands on and personal with ancient manuscript technologies [Sept. 2016]

1-uicb-paper-mill30 September 2016 – Mellon Sawyer Seminar Hands On Session
Mellon Sawyer Seminar participants met at the Oakdale Papermaking Facility near Iowa City on a beautiful autumn day to get hands on experience with manuscript and book technologies and production techniques. The workshop included scroll and codex structures, Nepalese and beaten bark papers, Japanese papermaking, western papermaking, parchment making, writing surfaces, tools and inks, and was led by professors and graduate students from the University of Iowa’s Center for the Book.

2-ms-wkshp-book-group2 Continue reading Workshop I: Getting hands on and personal with ancient manuscript technologies [Sept. 2016]