workshop registration

Typology of Multiple-Text Manuscripts

Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
29 - 30 April 2016


A manuscript can either contain one single text or be a collection of more texts. In the latter case it is very often designated as ‘miscellany’ or Sammelhandschrift, yet what is usually subsumed under these terms is vast with regard to both textual and material compo-sition. These terms can designate composite manuscripts, i.e. manuscripts that are made of several production units, originally not planned to be assembled in one volume. However, other manuscripts were intended as collections of texts from the outset and, from a historical perspective, should be investigated in their own right. Therefore, we introduce the term mul-tiple-text manuscript (MTM) for those manuscripts with more than one text which are not composite manuscripts.

Even after this basic distinction has been made, there remains a huge diversity of MTMs. There are many possible criteria which might govern their composition. Texts can, for instance, be collected in one single manuscript because they belong either to the same genre, subject-matter or author. In doing so, the collector can try to put together all pertinent texts that are available, or he can be selective, e.g. by choosing only those texts that are regarded as especially useful or worthwhile. In this connection, it may be interesting to discuss established terms from within the primary user context, e.g. anthology, chrestomathy or florilegium. However, it may also be useful to distinguish between types according to more formal criteria, e.g. collection of notes, excerpts or whole texts. A special type that seems to occur in many cultures is the juxtaposition of intertwined texts, e.g. a primary text plus one or more than one commentary, or an original text and its translation(s). From a historical per-spective, a differentiation between ‘open’/instable and ‘closed’/canonized MTMs can also be of importance for a typology and even for the attempt to define the term MTM itself.

In this workshop, we would like to discuss various ways of classifying MTMs on the ba-sis of evidence from many different manuscript cultures. We welcome different approaches towards a possible set of MTM types, may they be e.g. case specific or already put on a more general level. The workshop will offer the opportunity to contrast different proposals, search for commonalities and discuss possibilities how to establish various MTM types.


Antonella Brita, Martin Delhey, Janina Karolewski and Vito Lorusso

Programme and Abstracts

Programme (updated 06.04.2016) and Abstracts (updated 06.04.2016)


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


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