Dots, Marginalia and Peritexts in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop

Dots, Marginalia and Peritexts in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop September 14, 2017

Dots, Marginalia and Peritexts in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
June 11–12, 2018
Sabine Schmidtke and George A. Kiraz
(Institute for Advanced Study)

Manuscripts often contain far more material than the words that form their primary texts: dots and various other symbols that mark vowels (in the case of Semitic languages), intonation, readings aids, and other textual markers; marginal notes and sigla and interlinear annotations that provide additional explanatory content akin to but substantially different from our modern notes and endnotes; images and illustrations that present additional material not found in the main text. These extratextual (or peritextual) elements add additional layers to the main body of the text and are crucial for our understanding of the text’s transmission history as well as scribal habits.

This workshop aims at bringing together a team of scholars to focus on such extra-, peritextual elements as found in Middle Eastern manuscripts written in Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Persian and other languages. Scholars interested in participating may send via email a proposal between 750 and 1,000 words. Proposals are to focus on the extra-, peritextual elements (i.e. not a study of the main text), how these elements contribute to the main text, what are their formal properties (if any) and what is their literary functionality. Comparative analyses across traditions is encouraged but not required.

Examples of papers may include, but are not limited to, studies on:
• Vocalization systems, dotting, and the use of other diacritical symbols.
• Masoretic and reading traditions.
• Symbols indicating text divisions based on codicology and/or content.
• Marginal and interlinear annotations, sigla and commentaries.
• Illustrations and decorative elements.
• Colophons, collation notes, owner subscriptions, reading certificates, and stamps.

Submission deadline is January 15, 2018. Submissions are to be sent via email directly to George A. Kiraz at

Scholars are expected to fund their travel to/from and accommodation in Princeton. The Institute will provide meals and a conference celebratory dinner. Papers from the workshop will be considered for publication in a proceedings volume.

George A. Kiraz
ܡܩܪܝܢܐ ܡܚܝܠܐ
Visiting Scholar, Rutgers University
Editor-in-Chief, Gorgias Press
Director, Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute

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