This site offers several substantial resources. First, a list of new publications (online and print) on epigraphic culture of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, last updated in January 2014, and covering the years 2008-2013; second, a list of online only resources appearing during the same period, this time listed according to region: Britain/ASE/Ireland; Gaul/Rheinland; Iberia; Italy; North Africa; and the Balkans. Clearly, these represent mostly Latin inscriptions, although other languages from these regions, including Celtic, Neo-Punic, and Hebrew. The databases in these lists include some of the major projects better known to scholars of the earlier Roman Empire, such as Hispania Epigraphica. There is further information on, e.g., professional organizations, links to digitized reference works, and a few scholarly blog entries. The database Curse Tablets of Roman Britain also caught my eye – stay tuned!
The goal of this project and website is “to bring academic work on late antiquity to wider attention, to compete with ‘Roman’ and ‘Medieval’ images of the European past.” The directors are Dr Luke Lavan and Dr. Ellen Swift of the University of Kent, who are joined by several doctoral students and collaborators. Its focus is on the reconstruction of everyday life in the late antique city through the visualization and reproduction of material culture, eschewing Constantinople (which already has a well-known site) for less famous but better excavated urban environments. The posts highlight various ongoing research featuring the re-presentation of material culture, giving informative summaries about the reproduction of garments; the design and function of spoons; analysis of spices; and the process of monastic basket weaving through plaited palm leaves. The site also notes that “by reconstructing the cities in a careful scholarly manner (rather than as a market-oriented film or a computer game) the work will hopefully form the basis for an inspiring and accurate evocation of the urban form and metropolitan atmosphere of the period.” This will be important as popular films on Late Antiquity slowly begin to proliferate: most famously Agora with its evocative depiction of Alexandria, but see now Katherine of Alexandria. Beyond the potential connections between visualization and popular or documentary films, this site is of great interest for those interested in the reconstruction of Late Antique materiality.
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.
This site presents the research of Stephen Rapp, who has done much over the past several decades to present Late Antique and Medieval Georgia to an Anglophone audience. It contains an important list of links to the Georgian text and/or English translations of key sources, including the Life of Nino and the Conversion of Kartli; links to relevant sites; as well as a gallery of photos taken by the author. An important resource for an understudied area of Late Antiquity.
Kartvelologists (or aspiring ones) may also consult other Old Georgian resources strewn across the web: hmmlorientalia has a great survey of basic grammatical resources, as well as a series of posts on Old Georgian; and a number of Old Georgian writings are available as e-texts on Titus.org.
The Talmud blog, edited by Shai Secunda and Yitz Landes, with regular contributors Amit Gvaryahu, Ophir Münz-Manor, and Ron Naiweld, has a wide variety of posts on Talmudic culture. The topics range from musings on the Israeli movie “The Footnote” (a fascinating drama involving Rabbinics scholarship) to the inscriptions of the Sasanian mage Kerdīr; indeed, a significant number concern Judaism in Late Antiquity, in both the Roman and Sasanian Empires. Conference updates, book reviews, and even surveys of recent dissertations are also included. The toolbox collects a number of useful resources, such as a blogroll and web resources for rabbinic studies; links to digitized books, including e-texts; and a wonderful collection of links to images and transcriptions of Talmudic manuscripts.
The International Qur’anic Studies Association was founded in 2012 as a three-year consultation within the Society of Biblical Literature, after which it will become an independent, international scholarly organization devoted to the study of the Qur’ān from a variety of perspectives: “it seeks to involve specialists in literature, history, archaeology, paleography, and religious studies.” Biblical studies and Late Antiquity will surely be well represented. As part of its effort to connect with the public, there is already a lively website, including a (short) list of resources, and a promising blog with posts on diverse topics, such as whether or not to translate John Wansbrough’s Qur’anic Studies and the Sectarian Milieu “into English” (!), by the founding directors Emran El-Badawi of the University of Houston and Gabriel Reynolds of Notre Dame, and others. There is also a list of resources, which the viewer can supplement with the rapidly growing website of Mehdi Azaiez, a postdoctoral fellow at Notre Dame: Coran et sciences de l’Homme: histoire, language, lectures.
This blog, run by the Nubiologists Alexandros Tsakos and Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos, contains a number of interesting reflections on the medieval Nubian kingdoms, as well as their archaeological work, which is affiliated with the Sai Island Archaeological Mission at the Université Charles-de-Gaulle in Lille. Their thoughtful posts address major questions of methodology and interpretation in Nubian studies, including the state of the sources, whether in Western museums or endangered sites in modern Sudan. Both philological and archaeological topics are covered. The blogs from the field offer a fascinating, vivid portrait of the region.
This important blog on Christian apocrypha was established about six years ago by Tony Burke of York University. The author posts updates and commentary on recent scholarship about apocryphal literature, as reflected in publications, conferences, and on the web. Burke, along with Brent Laundau of the University of Oklahoma, is co-editing the two-volume More Christian Apocrypha (forthcoming with Eerdmans, beginning 2013); his site also contains a useful breakdown of many apocryphal texts that will appear in this work, almost all of them highly interesting, but with no English translation and limited bibliography, which is duly provided.
This rich blog by Adam McCollum features posts connected to his work as lead cataloguer of Eastern Christian Manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, Minnesota. There are a number of interesting entries about manuscripts which he has examined, including observations about the field of Eastern Christian studies more generally (especially Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Syriac), which is literally centuries behind Classics with respect to cataloguing and editing. Continue reading