From manuscript fragments to book history

The fragment project presents

Fragmentary Christian Texts of the Middle Ages: Contents, Methods, Challenges

The project "From manuscript fragments to book history" warmly invites to a conference on fragmentary texts from different medieval Christian cultures. Our speakers will talk about the Christian West, the Byzantine East, and the Nile region in an interdisciplinary perspective.

Collage of two medieval books containing the same homily.
Background image: Vind. suppl. gr. 200, f. 6r detail (1). Inset images from left to right: Oslo, NRA Lat. fragm. 42,1-2 (2). Khartoum, SNM 23045 (3). Berlin/Khartoum unregistered (3). Sin. slav. 5N f. 9r (1), Oslo, NRA Lat. fragm. 787,18 (2). Sin. slav. 1N f. 1v (1) Foto: (1) CIMA Vienna; (2) Michael Gullick; (3) Alexandros Tsakos.
 Fragmentary texts survive in big numbers from all medieval Christian cultures. They might be the only representatives of their culture and language, or they can form a small addition to an overwhelming corpus; they can add yet another variant to a known text, or they can form the only witness to this text. In any case, fragments are an important factor in the understanding of their respective culture. The variety of these cultures, however, influences the degree of our knowledge about them. It limits the ways we have to approach the textual record from a given culture, preserved more often than not in fragmentary form. Therefore, the exchange of experiences from working with different corpora and the identification of common methods across the wide spectrum of medieval cultures can enhance our appreciation of the role of fragmentary texts in the reconstruction of medieval literacy, religion, and society. Against this background, the project From Manuscript Fragments to Book History has invited fragmentologists working on the cornucopia of medieval cultures to a two-day conference in Bergen. On the first day, our speakers will give an insight into the current state of research in their fields, covering Medieval liturgical studies and Latin paleography, Byzantinology and linguistics, studies from the Slavonic, Coptic and Nubian literary milieus. The second day will be dedicated to a round-table where more concrete methodological and technical questions will be tackled by our guests. Welcome!  

The West I

Åslaug Ommundsen: Fragments of books or fragments of fragments? The state of Norwegian medieval manuscripts in the sixteenth century and the illusion of the complete codex

Michael Gullick: A fragment can be more than just a fragment

10.30-11.00coffee break

The Byzantine East

Theodoros Markopoulos: Fragments of papyri as fragments of Early Medieval Greek

Heinz Miklas: The Glagolitic-Old Church Slavonic fragments and their current analyses

12.00-13.30lunch break

The Nile

Alexandros Tsakos: Fragments of texts, fragments of codices and fragments of a language: religious literacy in Christian Nubia

Alin Suciu: Coptic puzzles: Paleographical and codicological approaches of the dismembered manuscripts of the White Monastery.

Christian Bull: Hermetica: Fragmenta, excerpta et corpus. How do the parts relate to the whole?


coffee break


The West II

Laura Albiero: Wrecking boundaries: between fragmentology and codicology

Astrid Marner: They do it with scissors: A scholarly whodunit on the fragmentation of Norway’s medieval book heritage


Summary and general discussion