The Corpus Coranicum is a long-standing research project at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, under the direction of Prof. Angelika Neuwirth, established in 2007 and currently funded through 2025. Its ultimate goal is the production of a comprehensive commentary on the Qur’an, based on both the textual tradition, especially early manuscripts, and literary passages, including biblical traditions, which shed light on the context of its production. A beta version of the online commentary is now available. One can browse by sura and verse (displayed with a special font, “Coranica”), exploring a facsimile of the associated page(s) in the 1924 Cairo print edition; scanned black-and-white photographs of the associated page(s) in early manuscripts from the archive of G. Bergsträßer, assembled in the 1920s, lost, and sensationally rediscovered in 2008; variant readings; “Texte aus der Umwelt des Korans,” most frequently from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament (the latter given in Greek, not Syriac); and an associated commentary. Of course, this magisterial project is also a massive undertaking, and the final two sections are only available for certain verses. The “Texte aus der Umwelt,” in particular, is a wide-open field, and is currently the subject of intensive research, as evidenced especially by the recent creation of IQSA. As Qur’anic studies rapidly develops, there is no question that Corpus Coranicum will be an essential resource.
The Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine (IIP) is a premier open-access epigraphic database directed by Professor Michael Satlow of Brown University, begun already in 1996. The goal of the project is to digitize the approximately 15,000 published inscriptions from Israel/Palestine, over a broad temporal range, from the Persian Period to the Islamic Conquest (i.e. 500 BCE – 640 CE); approximately 1,500 inscriptions have already been entered. What distinguishes this site from others of similar scope is the multiple languages included: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. One can search the database in any of these languages, or their English translations (the project’s own); by content (e.g., “synagogue” or “church” for inscriptions in synagogues or churches); or by accompanying figures (e.g. cross). Similarly, one can browse by place, date, inscription genre, physical medium, language (including multiple languages such as Aramaic and Greek), and, finally, religion (Jewish, Christian, Pagan, but currently no Samaritan). This powerful tool allows for tracking various expressions (e.g., “one God”), and more generally, epigraphic practices, across the communities of Israel/Palestine. In short, the site is a major resource for the study of the religions of Late Antiquity.
This important site collects a number of disparate resources, most of them related to eTexts in various dialects of Coptic, including such classic offline items as the Packard Humanities Institute’s CD 5.3 and 7, with the Sahidic New Testament and the Nag Hammadi Library; as well as the Searchable Sahidic Bible, now in its Beta version, which Askeland is currently developing with Matthias Schulz. Also included are a comprehensive list of Coptic fonts, organizations, and learning resources on the internet.
The International Catacomb Society is a non-profit organization “dedicated to the preservation and documentation of the Roman catacombs & those rare vestiges of history that illustrate the common influences on Jewish, Christian, and Pagan iconography and funerary practices during the time of the Roman Empire.” It features an expanding website with already substantial resources, mostly for Rome.
While the substantial archive of images and bibliography is available only to members (dues support the goals of the organization), a substantial (and growing) number of resources are open-access. The “Vaults of Memory” online exhibit, by the Society’s founder, Estelle Shohet Brettman, contains well over one hundred slides with a rich selection of catacomb art and inscriptions accompanied by explanations; in short, excellent material for an introductory class. There is also a helpful glossary of terms; and interactive maps, which clearly situate the catacombs, along with select other monuments, including the tituli churches. An ongoing series of PDF publications on the catacombs, most by Jessica Dello Russo in the series Roma Subterranean Judaica, are also important resources. The site also includes contact information for arranging visits in Rome itself; one site, the catacombs of Priscilla, were recently renovated, and are now included in Google Earth!
The British Library, which labels itself “The World’s Knowledge” with some justification, has a large collection of ancient manuscripts in diverse languages and media, probably the most impressive in the world. Less well known, perhaps, is its outstanding blog, which includes both reflections on collection items as well as entries on newly digitized texts, including the Egerton Gospel and Codex Alexandrinus. The latter has a great entry on the conservation process, as does the entry on “Some Syriac Manichaean Treasures in the British Library.” Ephrem’s otherwise lost Prose Refutations of Mani, Marcion, and Bardaisan, preserved as a palimpsest on Add. 14623 was recovered by Charles Mitchell, with the help of a certain “re-agent” at the turn of the century. The nature of this unidentified chemical is discussed, along with the eminent possibilities for reading the earlier text with the help of advanced digital photography. This wonderful post explores other significant holdings on Manichaeism, such as the Chinese Compendium on the Teachings of Mani, the Buddha of Light.
This very popular Spanish blog, entitled “El Blog de Antonio Piñero,” contains posts by its namesake, a Professor of Greek Philosophy at la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, as well as weekly contributions by Gonzalo Del Cerro and Fernando Bermejo-Rubio. These are helpfully written for a general audience, with an overall focus on the historical Jesus and the New Testament. However, Piñero and Bermejo were both involved in the Spanish translation of the Nag Hammadi Library, and the blog does reflect this broader reach. Bermejo-Rubio in particular has a number of interesting posts on varied topics in Late Antique religions, such as Apollonius of Tyana and Manichaeism.
The Department of Classics at The University of Iowa invites applications for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level in Late Latin Studies (2nd Century CE through 9th Century CE) with a demonstrated interest in digital Humanities, to begin in August 2014. For more information, please see https://jobs.uiowa.edu/faculty/view/63236.