Thursday, 30 April 2015

Giulia Rossetto: Manuscript Studies as Revealing the History of Use of Euchologia

From the perspective of the archaeology of the book, manuscripts are regarded as textual objects, specifically as excellent records of the “material culture”, since they reflect on tangible material grounds the history of the communities which produced and made use of them.
Byzantine prayer books (euchologia) can offer valuable information about the social and regional context of their production and use, based both on their content and traces of usage, especially annotations, in the manuscript itself: of particular relevance in this regard are the “small prayers” of everyday use that are aimed at every believer regardless of their social and economic status.
A detailed and accurate codicological and palaeographical analysis of these handwritten documents represents a major premise in order to identify the textual and regional communities that the euchologia served, helping to understand the place of copying and usage of an euchologion and, consequently, the liturgical tradition it reflects.
This paper will compare euchologia from South Italy and from the Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai in order to demonstrate the methodological potential of this approach.

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