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
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!
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.
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 Transformation of Poverty, Philanthropy, and Healthcare in Late Antiquity
Iowa City, IA, March 26-29, 2015.
The eleventh biennial Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity conference will take place at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, March 26-29, 2015. The period of Late Antiquity (A.D. 200-700) witnessed great changes in respect to attitudes towards poverty, philanthropy, and healthcare. The conference aims to bring together scholars in order to explore these issues amidst global concerns over poverty and the provision of healthcare, and questions over the role of private philanthropy in effecting change within these areas. Two events in particular, the ascendency of Pope Francis to the papacy and the debate over the federal provision of healthcare in the United States, helped to inspire the conference’s goal of surveying how early Christians viewed, wrote upon, depicted, and grappled with these issues, and how they shaped…
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 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!