These essays were part of a panel at the Society of Biblical Literature 2018 Annual Meeting titled, “Textual Objects and Material Philology,” inspired in part by the publication of Snapshots of Evolving Traditions (eds. Lied and Lundhaug).
“Again, to me the term “fragment” suggests something that is broken off or otherwise unintentionally separated: a stray puzzle piece, a single sock. The term points to what is missing. But I don’t think we have to look at this narrative in that way.”
“Even in this tiny fragment of the story of these codices, we have themes of chronography, displacement and patrimony which are part of the theoretical house we live in when we talk about manuscripts. Manuscripts and the way we engage with them are part of how we mark time, find our place, and belong to somebody. Working with these objects meant thinking about all the things that enclose them: archives, knowledge, readers, and time.”
“Rather than trying to find an original version and compare it with the “corrupted” ones, it is possible that each version of the song was “original” to some audience.“
Two languages, two scripts, three combinations: A (personal?) prayer-book in Syriac and Old Uyghur from Turfan (U 338)
“It does not get much more material than the ink on the page, and ink and page are bearers of both languages and writing systems, as well as any possible combinations thereof. No one takes this object seriously as it is, if they ignore the diﬀerent combinations of Uyghur and Syriac scripts and languages that we ﬁnd in this manuscript.”
“To paraphrase W. G. Sebald, a well-kept secret of plundering and theft built into the foundation of a monastery, a museum, a library, or a field of scholarship can be as effective at binding a collectivity together as any positive goal, including the realization of a better text of the New Testament.”
“It is also a fact that this “removal” of manuscripts during the period of European colonization of the Middle East played an important role in the very shaping of our modern exegetical disciplines. We currently see an emergent debate about the colonial projects that once shaped our fields, but in some important ways, we do in fact continue these projects: when we edit or interpret texts, we do so based on someone else’s manuscripts.”