The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha

This site, edited by Ian Scott of Tyndale Seminary, contains online editions of many Old Testament Pseudepigrapha in various ancient and medieval languages, though the basis for most is Greek, with Latin also well represented. The Introductions to each text are original and helpful, including a description of the manuscript evidence across multiple versions, and an annotated bibliography of print editions designating manuscripts used, which can also be browsed by author or keyword and searched. The currently available electronic texts are often a transcription of an out-of-copyright edition, and sometimes include evidence from multiple manuscripts; eclectic texts taking into account extant versions in Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, and other languages are planned.

While the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha is still very much a work in progress, it is laudable for its efforts to make widely available the electronic text of these important documents, and thus multiplying possibilities for research. The full texts of widely cited works such as the Lives of Adam and Eve and the Testament of Abraham, which are not yet in Perseus or other open access digital library, can now be employed in DH research, for example corpus analysis with the statistics program R; copyright information varies by text, and a full statement is given here: http://ocp.tyndale.ca/copyright-and-permissions

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A Repertoire of Byzantine “Beneficial Tales”

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This website of “Narrations Useful to the Soul,” a genre that flourished in Late Antique monasticism, has quietly been online since at least 2001, when it is cited by John Wortley, its author, in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 55. Is this one of the first online resources to be explicitly cited in an article on Late Antiquity? In any case, it is still available at the author’s personal webpage courtesy of the University of Manitoba, where he is an emeritus professor. The Repertoire consists of over 900 précis of “spiritual tales,” culled from a wide variety of Late Antique sources, selected primarily according to criterion of narrative form. The tales are ordered arbitrarily according to “W” numbers, and frequently cross-reference the entries of François Halkin in Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca (1957) and Novum Auctarium Bibliothecae Hagiographicae Graecae (1984), which one must consult for manuscript descriptions of unpublished texts. The great research benefit of the site (is it good for the soul?) is the ability to search these texts for content.

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wortley/

Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine

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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.

The British Library Blog: From the Egerton Gospel to Ephrem Palimpsests

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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.

TM Magic

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The TM Magic Database, administered by Franziska Naether and Mark Depauw, is the newest addition to Trismegistos, a premier information portal for the ancient world, with a focus on Egypt between 800 BC and AD 800.  In its own words, it collects “metadata of somewhat “dubious” nature: all things “religion”, “ritual”, “magic” and “divination” / “mantike”.”  There are currently 3712 entries.  A quick browse through these records suggests that the initial focus is, broadly speaking, “magic” and “divination,” but material such as Isidorus’s hymns to Isis is also present.  Researchers can search in one or more categories: publication, editor, and inventory, as well as language/script (primarily Demotic, Greek, and Coptic), provenance, nome, and type (genre); the results can be viewed in any available Trismegistos-collaborating database.  As more entries are added, the site will become an increasingly powerful tool for researchers in ancient Egyptian magic.

http://www.trismegistos.org/magic/

 

The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

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This database of magical gems, named after Campbell-Bonner’s famous collection of 1954, is in fact far more extensive, containing over 1,000 items.  These are drawn from over 30 collections, including the British Museum, and the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, which is curating the website with the University of Fribourg, under the direction of an international editorial board.  According to the site, the database, which is currently expanding, contains “a fourth of the known corpus of magical gems.”  Its search functions allow the user to browse the gems by collection, material, place of discovery (only a few of which are known), iconographical schemes and elements, vocabulary (gem inscriptions in Greek and Latin), names, voces magicae, Logoi, and Characteres.  The entries themselves contain this information, when available, along with digital images of the gems; these can even be sent as electronic postcards!  There is a small glossary and bibliography, which has the helpful feature of noting the gems referred to in each entry.  Clearly this is a major resource, which will become even more important as the site grows.

http://www2.szepmuveszeti.hu/talismans/

 

Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller and Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum Online

Significant portions of two magisterial series of critical editions for Christian texts from Late Antiquity can be easily downloaded from enumerated lists linked to archive.org and Google Books: Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller (GCS), available at Roger Pearse and Patrologia Latina, Graeca, & Orientalis (PLGO; through Scribd); and Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL), also available at Roger Pearse and the PLGO.  While all of the texts from the series Sources Chrétiennes, founded in 1942, are still under copyright, useful information on the many volumes can be found on the Institute’s website.  Similarly, Brepols Corpus Christianorum, and its various subseries, are under copyright; the Series Latina is available by subscription in the Library of Latin Texts.