The Life of Martin on Dickinson College Commentaries

Dickinson College Commentaries, created by Professor Chris Francese with a grant from the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies, currently consists of electronic editions of Julius Caesar’s Gallic War, Sulpicius Severus’s Life of Martin, and Ovid’s Amores Book 1. The texts are a combination of previous editions and do not reflect additional manuscript work; rather, the focus is pedagogical, as I can attest from my own use of the site in a Late-Antique Latin seminar I offered this spring.  Audio files of the entire text are available for download, and words not in the site’s core vocabulary lists of Greek or Latin (themselves invaluable resources) are glossed; a substantial number of grammatical notes are also provided by Francese.  Dickinson College Commentaries is now accepting submissions for electronic editions of additional Latin texts, to be reviewed by the editorial committee, and thus represents a unique, valuable opportunity for publishing digital editions of Greek and Latin texts to be used especially in the classroom.

 

 

Online Resources for the Mandaeans

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The Mandaeans are a contemporary religion with communities in Iraq and Iran, as well as an expanding Diaspora in Europe, North America, and Australia; their heritage reaches back to Late-Antique Mesopotamia.  Most scholars of religion in Late Antiquity have ignored them, especially after earlier attempts to interpret key Gospel passages through Mandaean literature fell sharply, and deservedly, out of favor.  In more recent scholarship, their importance for understanding pre-Islamic religion in Sasanian Iran is slowly being recognized.  Yet major texts, such as the Mandaic Book of John, are not available in English translation. Professors Charles Häberl of Rutgers University and James McGrath of Butler University are producing a translation of this Book of John; their work-in-progress is helpfully posted on the project blog. Continue reading

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/

 

Manichaean Texts at the Digitales Turfan-Archiv and TITUS

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The Iranian texts discovered at the beginning of the 20th-century during the German excavations of the Turfan oasis constitute a major source for modern scholarship on Manichaeism; like the Nag Hammadi Library, they provide an important corrective to the exclusively polemical accounts that had survived the manuscript transmission.  The numerous textual fragments have been patiently published over the past century by a number of scholars, and this critical project is still ongoing.

The Turfanforschung group at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften has published to the web the Digitales Turfan-Archiv, which includes a variety of literature from the Turfan oasis, including “Texte in Manichäischer Schrift,” in the Parthian and Middle Persian languages, as well as some in Old Turkic.  This section contains high-resolution images of basically the entire run of texts in Manichaean script, more than 9,200 fragments, catalogued according to the more recent “M” categorization cited in contemporary scholarship (from Mary Boyce’s A Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean Script in the German Turfan Collection [Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1960]); the glass plates show the former “T” categorization:

http://www.bbaw.de/forschung/turfanforschung/dta/

The Middle Persian and Parthian eTexts for many of these documents is available from TITUS at the University of Frankfurt:

http://titus.uni-frankfurt.de/indexe.htm?/texte/texte2.htm

The Virtual Magic Bowl Archive (VMBA) and Prosopography

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The Virtual Magic Bowl Archive is a collaborative environment for the publication of magic bowls in the Moussaieff, Dehays, and Barakat collections.  It is housed at the University of Southampton, under the direction of Dr. Dan Levene, with a number of other prominent collaborators in Europe, Israel, and North America.  While the archive, which includes photographs and transcriptions, currently has restricted access, The VMBA site contains several useful resources and descriptions of ongoing projects.  These include the Aramaic Magical Texts from Late Antiquity (AMTLA), a BIRAX project conducted by Dr. Dan Levene and Prof. Gideon Bohak, part of which is the valuable prosopography of the Babylonian Magic Bowls, compiled by Dr. Ortal-Paz Saar of Tel Aviv University Continue reading

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.

Ancient Iran: Courses and Grammars by Prods Oktor Skjærvø

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Prods Oktor Skjærvø, the Agha Khan Professor of Iranian Studies at Harvard University, has published online an impressive series of courses and grammars on ancient Iran (and Central Asia), from the Avestan period to the Middle Ages. Continue reading

Visualizing Statues in Late Antiquity

This fascinating and innovative project seeks to give users the experience of how statues (and their inscribed bases) constituted a collective memory among those who participated in the ritual space of the Late-Antique Roman Forum.  The PI of “Visualizing Statues” is Diana Favro of UCLA, with Chris Johanson as CI and Gregor Kalas as Fellow; it was developed in UCLA’s Experiental Technologies Center, with the support of the NEH.  The site is a model for a smooth interface between 3-d visualization of ancient monuments in their spatial context; 2-d plans of urban spaces; material culture, including statues bases with inscriptions; a timeline, between 284 and 526 CE; and even literary sources, namely Claudian’s portrait of the emperor Honorius’s Consular Procession in 404 CE, a compelling description of Late-Antique imperial ceremony used as a textual basis for framing the experience of the online audience. Continue reading

International Qur’anic Studies Association: A Blog

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.

T-Pen and tranScriptorium: Digital Tools for Manuscript Transcription

Transcription for Paleographical and Editorial Notation, or “T-Pen,” developed at the Center for Digital Theology of Saint Louis University, is a tool for the transcription and annotation of manuscripts, through their digital images, to which they are linked on a line-by-line basis; it is currently in its beta version, and will continue to add features.  By signing up, one can make transcriptions from the numerous manuscripts and notebooks made available by libraries, some of which contain texts from Late Antiquity (i.e., the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is associated with T-Pen); transcriptions can be exported as a .pdf or XML, but not, apparently, to editorial software (such as Classical Text Editor). Continue reading