Abstract - From Localization to Chronological and Geographical Prediction.

International Medieval Congress (IMC 2022), Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds. July 2022. Estelle Guéville and David J. Wrisley

The digitized corpus of Latin Bibles, particularly those known as “Paris” Bibles, provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to combine handwritten text recognition (HTR) technologies and computational textual analysis. Traditional methods of localizing manuscripts, or parts of manuscripts, have relied upon paleographic, artistic and material indications in the codex, or if we are lucky, a colophon. For more anonymous, lightly decorated or more standardized manuscript traditions, the prospect of localization would seem a difficult one. The Paris Bible Project (parisbible.github.io) project uses abbreviations and letter forms as additional layers of scribal data in order to expand the usual scope of medieval textual study. In fact, they allow a tradition of the “same text” to be seen as a vibrant situation of mouvance. Through the creation of non-normalizing transcription standards, we are able to capture the copying practices of many individual Bibles with greater granularity. These multiple transcriptions, when used in statistical and predictive analysis–and the often faulty metadata of library collections–allow us to fine tune what we might know about these Bibles and to expand the traditional notion of localization. They are not magical, infallible methods, but rather sophisticated analytical frameworks which need to be used in close dialogue with codicology and manuscript studies. In turn, they allow us to begin to revise the idea of the scribal profile, the “scribe as author” (Canfora), and the chronological and geographical variance of Biblical text.

Suggested citation

Guéville, Estelle and Wrisley, David J. (07 July 2022). Abstract - From Localization to Chronological and Geographical Prediction. Paris Bible Project. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8040632

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