Do 16 Mai 2013 – Fr 17 Mai 2013

Commentary Cultures: Technologies of Medieval Reading

Whitney Cox (SOAS), Islam Dayeh (Zukunftsphilologie/FU), Matthias Schemmel (MPIWG), Nicolai Sinai (Oxford)

Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin

Zukunftsphilologie Workshop in cooperation with Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Some of the studies that were presented during the workshop were published in Commentary Cultures: Technologies of Medieval Reading, a special issue of Philological Encounters.

Workshop program

Whitney Cox (SOAS/University of Chicago), Islam Dayeh (Zukunftsphilologie/Freie Universität Berlin), Nicolai Sinai (University of Oxford), Matthias Schemmel (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte)

Daniele Cuneo (University of Cambridge), Michael Facius (Freie Universität Berlin), Murat Umut Inan (Zukunftsphilologie Fellow 2012-2013), Megan McNamee (MPIWG/University of Michigan), Pietro Daniel Omodeo (MPIWG), Irina Tupikova (Technische Universität Dresden), Samer Rashwani (EUME Fellow 2012-2013), Anja Stadeler (FSGS, Freie Universität Berlin), Gyburg Uhlmann (Freie Universität Berlin), Ronny Vollandt (Freie Universität Berlin) and Sascha Freyberg (MPIWG/Freie Universität Berlin)

The workshop aims to explore commentaries from different cultural and philological traditions within a comparative and interdisciplinary framework. Drawing on the notion that commentaries go beyond merely being “supplementary” or “secondary” texts to the texts they comment upon, we seek to open up a new discussion intended to approach commentaries as original texts in their own right and, accordingly, explore the ways and circumstances in which they were produced, used, received, and circulated across textual communities.
Within this scope, we are particularly interested in reflecting on two aspects of commentary texts. The first relates to the textual practices involved in the production and consumption of commentaries, including page layout, structural hierarchy of texts on the page and techniques of referencing between them, marginalia and visual and pictorial elements of commentary texts through an analysis of specific manuscript traditions. The second aspect involves considering commentaries as loci of philological practices and methods; that is, as textual spaces in which we are presented with philological processes such as textual criticism, collating and editing.
In this regard, we mainly attempt at conceptualizing commentaries as philological texts that provided the means not only for the analysis and interpretation of certain “classical” or “canonical” texts for a variety of textual communities, but also for the preservation, transmission and circulation of these texts for the same communities.

With a hands-on discussion of commentaries and their manuscript traditions, this intensive two-day workshop brings scholars engaged in the study of interpretative cultures into a fruitful dialogue to explore and discuss commentaries from analytical and theoretical perspectives. Cases studies from Arabic, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Persian, Sanskrit, Japanese, Chinese and European vernaculars as well as other commentarial traditions will be explored. 
Selected References
• Most, Glenn W. (ed.): Commentaries/Kommentare, Göttingen 1999
• Gibson, R.K. and C.S. Kraus (ed.): The Classical Commentary. Histories, Practices,   Theory, Leiden 2002
• Grafton, Anthony: “Commentary”, in The Classical Tradition (ed. Grafton, et al), HUP 2010, pp. 225-233

Workshop photos: Hannah Klaubert, Stefanie Müller

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