Conference: Observing the Scribe at Work

There are several interesting conferences and workshops coming up this spring. Here is the Call for Papers for one of them :


The conference will be centred on the figure of the scribe and his role in transferring knowledge. It aims at shedding light on his activities by analysing the evidence left in the manuscripts. Moreover the organisers take an interestingly broad approach. They plan to include examples of scribal activities from all the pre-modern societies gathered around the Mediterranean Sea, so that a very broad and diversified picture of the scribes and their activities can be drawn.
Moreover the subject of this conference seems particularly timely to me, as it alludes to themes which are again more in the focus now, especially in connection with questions treated by scholars from the field of Digital Humanities. The questions are certainly not new and do not exclusively belong to the domain of Digital Humanities, but this discipline is particularly touched by the implications of the answers, which have been given since Antiquity, to these questions. Indeed when trying to establish a digital edition of an existing text, may it come from Antiquity or have been writing more recently, the process involved in all of the stages from writing a text to reading it, and even the text itself, has to be analysed in much detail and defined in a more open way to avoid implicit assumptions which are problematic for the computer. Therefore these questions seem to be at the core of some of the thoughts in Digital Humanities and give new impulses to scholars from other domains to think about the implicit interventions a text is subject to when it is written, copied, printed or read. Scribal activity is certainly one of the domains where many implicit interventions have been made and it is extremely interesting to see that more weight is now given to this part of the transmission.

For another comment on this event, see : What’s New in Papyrology


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