workshop registration

80 years since Nordenfalk.
The Canon Tables in a comparative perspective

Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
16 - 18 May 2018


The so-called Canon Tables of the Christian Gospels are an absolutely remarkable feature of the early, late antique, and medieval Christian manuscript cultures of East and West, the invention of which is commonly attributed to Eusebius and dated to first decades of the fourth century AD. Intended to host a technical device for structuring, organizing, and navigating the Four Gospels united in a single codex ? and, in doing so, building upon and bringing to completion previous endeavours ? the Canon Tables were apparently from the beginning a highly complex combination of text, numbers and images, that became an integral and fixed part of all the manuscripts containing the Four Gospels as Sacred Scripture of the Christians. Canon Tables can be seen as exemplary for the formation, development and spreading of a specific Christian manuscript culture across East and West AD 300 and 800.

Carl Nordenfalk’s masterly and path-breaking publication of 1938 was the first systematic study on the subject. Twelve years later, Peter Underwood dedicated a systematic survey to the theme of the Fountain of Life that completes and integrates Nordenfalk’s contribution in regard of this motif. Since then, many single contributions have appeared, particularly on individual Christian traditions with a particular focus on the oriental ones (given the particular importance attributed to the Syriac Gospel of Rabbula, dated to c. AD 586). In the last fifteen years, the re-dating to Late Antiquity of two Ethiopian Four Gospels codices has further contributed to re-ignite the interest and the research. Several workshops have taken place in the last years, and a recent thorough monograph by Judith McKenzie and others were also dedicated to the subject.

“80 years since Nordenfalk”, the time seems to have come to consider the Canon Tables once more from different points of view and in a broad comparative perspective. Looking for a comparative view on their visual appearance, their meaning, function and their usage in different times, domains, and cultures the workshop intends to discuss the origins, development and success of Canon Tables in the Late Antique Christian culture of the East and their transmission into Western manuscript culture of the Early Middle Ages.

Programme and Abtracts

Download the workshop programme (April 2018)


The workshop will be held at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany. How to find us


Participation is free of charge and vistors are welcome. Please register below.
You may find the Hamburg Tourismus site useful for finding a suitable accommodation.
For more information please contact us.

First Name:
Last Name:

On which days will you attend the sessions?
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Friday, 18 April 2018

May we use your contact data in order to inform you about future events at the CSMC via newsletter?
Yes     No

Please enter the following number:

>> Please enter your Email! Click the back button of your browser to correct the entry.<<