07.30-09.00 Breakfast for the overnight guests
09.30-11.00 Session 3
Eugenio Garosi (Haifa)
Signing the Empire: The Visual Semantic of early Islamic Public Writing
Arabic papyri, inscriptions and coins are some of the most diffuse media through which the Arab-Muslim elite made its presence felt in the public arena in the aftermath of the early Islamic conquests. My talk proposes understanding these public texts – which circulated among and engaged mostly non-Arab audiences – as elements of a visual language, blurring the lines between readers and spectators, rather than being strictly textual entities. In particular, I explore the role of layout, aesthetic features and dispositional practices of Arabic promulgations in the organization of difference within the largely non-Arabicized environment of the Umayyad and early Abbasid empires.
Andreas Thele (Liege)
Aspects of Japanese Sword Inscriptions during the Feudal Age: 1185-1867
Throughout history, various kinds of words and symbols have been engraved on Japanese swords and their fittings: signatures, poems, Sanskrit characters, and other inscriptions were meant to identify, spiritually protect, or embellish the sword. This talk will present some objects of this tradition.
11.30-12.15 Session 4
Drew Longacre (Cambridge Digital Bible Research)
The Dead Sea Scrolls as Textual Artifacts
I will survey ways in which the analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls as textual artifacts shines important new light on difficult questions about the composition, transmission, and reception of the Hebrew Bible. Using examples from the Psalms, I will illustrate how material features of handwriting and manuscript format provide important clues to help scholars interpret their texts.
12.15-14.00 Lunch for all attendees
14.00-15.30 Session 5
From ancient production and use to modern reconstruction and recording
The goal of this lecture is to use the scribal environment of Deir el-Medina (Egypt), namely the village of highly literate workmen who built and decorated the royal tombs in the Theban necropolis during the New Kingdom (c. 1350–1000 BCE), as a laboratory for showcasing and discussing recent methodological advances in studying and documenting text objects from the ancient world. Based on a series of case-studies, the first part of the lecture will be devoted to the analysis of the actual manufacture and use of ostraca and papyri in this community. In a second step, I will introduce the “Thot Data Model” and explain how it has been implemented within the Turin Papyrus Online Platform for documenting the materiality of a collection of papyri stored at the Museo Egizio (Turin), which originates precisely from Deir el-Medina. Finally, I will introduce the “Virtual Light Table”, a software tool that has been developed by Stephan Unter in the framework of the “Crossing Boundaries” project for supporting the virtual reconstruction of fragmentary written material.
Jean-Luc Fournet (Paris)
A papyrus is first and foremost an object !
A papyrus text is first and foremost an object. While papyrologists working on literary papyri have long understood this, papyrologists editing documents are generally obsessed with content, and all too often neglect the data provided by format, layout and writing styles, etc., which are nonetheless essential for a correct understanding of a document's content, nature and function. This approach, which I have elsewhere proposed to call "paléographie signifiante", invites us to analyze documents as cultural objects and not merely as vehicles for a textual content, and shows that form, far from being casual, contributes to the meaning of the text.
16.30-17.15 Session 6
Élise Franssen (Liege)
Uniqueness in profusion - Manuscripts in Arabic script
Print was not adopted by the cultures using the Arabic script before the very late eighteenth century. This is why a great number of manuscripts in Arabic, from any period ranging between the seventh and the twentieth century CE are still extant. These manuscripts present specific features in terms of forms and use, and this paper will be the occasion to present some of them.
18.30 Conference dinner