Wednesday, January 10, 2018

More on the Sinai Palimpsests Project etc.

SAINT CATHERINE'S MONASTERY: Layers of history: The Sinai Palimpsests’ Project (Jenna Le Bras, Mada).
From the shrine bathed in the early morning light, Father Justin lets his eyes linger on the arid peaks of South Sinai with contentment. “Can you see the sentry box at the top of the mountain? There is always someone guarding over there. It’s important to protect this place, but first and foremost to show that it is protected,” he says.

I know we have seen many articles on Saint Catherine's Monastery, its manuscripts, and the Sinai Palimpsests Project. But this one gives a good overview, along with some details that I don't remember seeing before. It tells more about Father Justin, the monastery's librarian (mentioned before here and here) and about the recent reopening of the library. There are also some interesting details about the palimpsest manuscripts, for example:
Double palimpsests, remarkably common in the library of St. Catherine’s Monastery, have also been studied. One of them is a 6th-century copy of the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy from the New Testament in Syriac translation. Phelps uses the term “jewels” when he speaks about the palimpsests, some of which have revealed nine layers of successively erased and rewritten texts.
Worth reading in full.

Review: a "palimpsest" is a manuscript whose writing has been erased and then new writing has been written over it. New technologies are making it increasingly possible to recover the erased writing.

For Saint Catherine's Monastery, its manuscripts, and the reopening of its library, see here and links. For the Sinai Palimpsests Project, see here and links. The latter post also leads to past posts on other palimpsest manuscripts.

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