Events of the
Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
[First published in sections on our first website on *19 April 2006, with updates there and here]
Since 1990, from its very beginnings, the Research Group has held Seminars, Workshops, Colloquia, and Symposia (organized or co-organized by Mildred Budny) variously at The Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and at other centers in England, Japan, and the United States. In England, many of these sessions belonged to the series of Research Group Seminars on “The Evidence of Manuscripts”. At libraries, the sessions have taken place over relevant manuscripts in the collection, supplemented by photographs. Elsewhere the sessions have usually been accompanied by displays or exhibitions of photographs, mostly by Mildred Budny.
Since 2001, the Research Group has jointly sponsored scholarly meetings, co-organized by Mildred Budny and held at various centers. Some of these events augment and expand the subjects explored in our Sessions, both Sponsored Sessions and Co-Sponsored Sessions, at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies (Congress Sessions), which appear in our Congress Archive. Our ‘Events’, comprising scholarly meetings elsewhere, as well as Photographic Exhibitions, Receptions, and More (sometimes at the International Congress itself), appear in our Events Archive.
I. The “Prequel” in 1989
“Illustrations in Manuscripts as Evidence for Daily Life”.
Parker Library, 20 May 1989
An initial seminar, held in May 1989 at the Parker Library, prepared the way for the formation of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and its series of Seminars officially devoted to “The Evidence of Manuscripts”, from the December 1989 Seminar onward.
This inaugural seminar considered “Illustrations in Manuscripts as Evidence for Daily Life” or “Anglo-Saxon Life” (the descriptions differed).
Remember, this was before the discovery of the New Digital World of imaging for manuscripts and their study. We had to make do, if possible, with the materials which could come into view. And sometimes they could include, or center upon, the manuscripts themselves. Or some of them.
The manuscripts on the table for discussion included these examples in the Corpus Christi College collection:
- MS 23, Part I (“The Corpus Prudentius”)
- MS 41 (“The Corpus Old English Bede”)
- MS 183 (“King Athelstan’s Presentation Copy of Bede’s ‘Life of Saint Cuthbert’ and Other Texts”), and
- MS 389 (“The Corpus Eremetical Saints’ Lives by Jerome and Felix”).
We believed it useful to bring together manuscript scholars as well as others, including linguists and archaeologists, to consider the evidence which manuscript illustrations provided, whether direct or indirect, for customs, costumes, weaponry, armor, drinking vessels, and other activities during the Anglo-Saxon period, or any period, particularly when considered in the context of the transmission patterns of the given manuscripts, texts, and cycles of illustrations.
The participants included R.I. Page, Mildred Budny, David M. Wilson, Christine E. Fell, James A. Graham-Campbell, Leslie E. Webster, Patrick Wormald, and Richard Gem. (The records surviving a move may be incomplete, while the RSVPs which remain in our Research Group Archives testify to the first steps of a pioneering activity.)
It was agreed that the opportunity to examine manuscripts together, in the company of specialists in various fields, deserved further meetings.
And so the series commenced.
[Notable, in retrospect, which manuscripts were placed on the table, in company with each other. Not too shabby, don’t you think?]
While we review the full series of Seminars which followed this Prequel, it may be worth observing how many of the manuscripts selected for collective consideration found a detailed report in the principal publication which was allowed to emerge from the long-term collaborative Research Project at the Parker Library, dedicated to integrating scholarly research with conservation work. This specifically integrated research began with the arrival of the new Senior Research Associate at the Parker Library, in an outside-funded position, for 2 years (1987–9), and then grew into a 5-year Research Project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, with the addition of a Research Assistant and provisions for photographic work by the same Senior Research Associate.
The Annual Reports to the Leverhulme Trust spell out the course of the research, its scholarly meetings (including the relevant period within this Series of Seminars), its contacts with other centers and scholars, its plans, and its array of discoveries. Details about those Annual Reports appear among our Publications.
The Illustrated Catalogue of Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2 volumes, 1997) report some of the fruits of the work of clearing the ground, ploughing the fields, sowing seeds, tending the crops, and preparing the harvest. The manuscripts inspected at the First Seminar found a welcome place — illustrations included — in that publication, thus:
- MS 23, Part I = Budny Number 24
- MS 41 = Budny Number 32
- MS 183 = Budny Number 12
- MS 389 = Budny Number 23
Join us for a closer look at this Seminar, aided by the souvenirs in the Research Group Archives, on its very own Page.
II. Seminars on “The Evidence of Manuscripts” (1989–1995), with Some Workshops, Visits, and a Symposium
[For the Record: As the series of seminars began with its first meeting, the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence took clearer form. We designed the logo, chose the official font, formed the plan for regular meetings to gather collaborative feedback, sought collaborative projects, prepared our first Style Manifesto, and embarked on a concerted series of Seminars on the Evidence of Manuscripts.]
Its List tells the range. Now we show and tell the details, as we can process and post them, for the individual Events.
[About this series, a couple of reflections, as the WebEditor observes the long sight with hindsight.
Legendary series, some participants continue to say. Who knew, who could know, where it might lead? Perhaps you might like to know about the dedicated efforts which stood before your happy times with digital facsimiles, fuller collaboration, the works. We have done what we could. It is what it is.
Placing the record before you might allow you to thank your lucky stars that you didn’t have to go through such laborious steps. It would be a kindness, perhaps, not to insult us too much for having not had the benefits — that means us — of those who went before you, and for doing what seemed both necessary and possible, in a visionary way, to prepare the way for a better future for manuscript studies. Most people nowadays, even people we thought were friends, then, regard it as inconsequential. If we were famous, they would perhaps admire its huge efforts, and share some consolation for the huge personal cost. (The Memoirs are astounding. However, there are still some good friends.) Whether it worked or not, in whichever ways, it seems a worthy aim. Just sayin’. Been There! And Still Here!]
“Legal Manuscripts, Their Make-Up and Contents”
Parker Library, 16 December 1989
“Facsimiles, Diplomatic Texts and Editions”
Parker Library, 17 March 1990
This Seminar gave an exclusive preview of the Palaeographical and Textual Handbook
“Sixteenth-Century Interventions in Anglo-Saxon and Related Manuscripts”
Parker Library, 13 April 1990
“Corpus Christi College MS 139”:
A Twelfth-Century Historical Miscellany
Parker Library, 28 September 1990
“Technical Literature and its Form and Layout in Early Medieval Manuscripts”
Parker Library, 13 July 1991
“The Production, Make-up and Handling of Medieval Manuscripts”: A Workshop
Parker Library, 5 October 1991
“Sixteenth-Century Transcripts of Anglo-Saxon Texts”
Parker Library, 12 October 1991
“Corpus Christi College MS 383:
An Anglo-Saxon Legal Codex of the Late Eleventh or Early Twelfth Century”
Parker Library, 16 November 1991
“Anglo-Saxon Writing Materials and Practices:
The Archaeological Record, Linguistic and Literary Evidence, and the Manuscripts”
Parker Library, 11 January 1992
“Corpus Christi College MSS 23 and 223:
The Corpus Prudentius and the Saint-Bertin Prudentius”
Parker Library, 2 June 1992
“Research on Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Cambridge and Oxford”
(With a Travelling Exhibition of Photographs)
Pembroke College, Oxford, 20 June 1992
Research Group Seminar, Workshop, Lectures, and Symposium in Japan
(With a Travelling Exhibition of Photographs)
Japan, November and December 1992
I. Seminar on “The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and its Work”
College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo at Komaba, November 1992
II. Workshop on”Aspects of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence”
Chuo University, Tokyo, December 1992
III. Symposium on “The Integrated Approach to Manuscript Studies: A New Horizon”
Aoyama Gakuin University, 5 December 1992,
as part of the Eighth Annual General Congress of the Japan Society for Medieval English Studies
“Corpus Christi College MS 44: The Corpus Canterbury Pontifical”
Parker Library, 27 February 1993
“Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts from Worcester”
(With a Travelling Exhibition of Photographs)
Pembroke College, Oxford, 13 March 1993
“Professionals’ Views of Manuscript Writing:
Calligraphic Techniques in Medieval Manuscripts and their Modern Descendants”
Parker Library, 15 November 1993
“Corpus Christi College MS 41: The Corpus Old English Bede”
Parker Library, 11 December 1993
“Pigment-Analysis of Corpus Manuscripts”
Parker Library, 4 March 1994
“King Alfred and His Legacy”
English Faculty, University of Oxford, 29 April 1994
“Marginalia in Manuscripts”
Parker Library, 24 June 1994
“Medieval Manuscript Fragments:
Their Problems and Challenges”
Parker Library, 19 August 1994
Parker Library, 19 September 1994
“Color in Medieval Manuscripts”
Parker Library, June 1995
III. Symposia on “The Transmission of the Bible” (1995–2000)
Starting in 1995, the Research Group jointly sponsored a series of Annual Symposia on “The Transmission of the Bible,” organized by Mildred Budny and held at various centers in turn. Starting in 2006, the Symposium Program also included brief Abstracts of the Papers. Starting in 2014, we publish those programs on our redesigned website: Bible Symposia.
“The Bible and the Visual Arts” (Barnard College, Columbia University, April 1995)
- “The Carolingian Bible and Its Impact” (Princeton University, April 1996)
- “The Late-Antique Bible and Its Impact” (Douglass College, Rutgers University, March 1997)
- “The Bible and The Liturgy” (Fordham University, April 1998)
- “The Apocalypse in Word and Image” (Princeton University, April 1999)
- “Canterbury and the Bible” (Douglass College, Rutgers University, March 2000)
IV. Workshops, Colloquia & Symposia (2001–)
” ‘The Dating Service or The Dating Game?’
Problems and Potential of Dating Materials from the Early Medieval Period”
An Inaugural and Celebratory Workshop at The College of New Jersey, November 2001
This Workshop, inaugurating a series of workshops and celebrating both the formation of the Early Medieval Forum and the recognition for the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence of tax-exempt status as a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, marked the resumption of scholarly meetings following our Annual Symposia on the Transmission of the Bible.
Co-organized by Celia Chazelle and co-sponsored by the Early Medieval Forum, the Index of Christian Art of Princeton University, and the History Department and History Club of The College of New Jersey, the Workshop was held at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey, in November 2001.
Information about the interests, activities, and listserv of the Early Medieval Forum appears on its website.
A Colloquium at The British Museum, March 2002
Co-organized by Leslie E. Webster and co-sponsored by The British Museum, The British Academy, the Friends of the British Museum, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the American Friends of the British Museum, the Index of Christian Art of Princeton University, the Royal Historical Society, and the Centre for Palaeography in the School of Advanced Study of the University of London, the Colloquium was held at the Clore Centre of The British Museum in London in March 2002.
Abstracts of the thirty-three papers presented at the Colloquium have been published in print and are also available online in a couple of ways, as described among the Research Group Publications and for the event. You may also download it in the authentic form in which we designed it for the event, and distributed it there and afterwards in print.
The Ohio State University, October 2003
Co-organized by Frank T. Coulson and co-sponsored by the Center for Epigraphical and Palaeographical Studies in the Department of Greek and Latin of The Ohio State University, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at The Ohio State University, and the Index of Christian Art of Princeton University, the Colloquium was held at the Center for Epigraphical and Palaeographical Studies in October 2003.
Our series of Sponsored and Co-Sponsored Symposia resumed with the Anniversary Symposium in 2009.
Princeton University, November 2009
Princeton University, March 2013
Princeton University, May 2014
the Program in Medieval Studies at Princeton University,
the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University, and
James Marrow and Emily Rose
and held in the Lewis Library in May 2014
Princeton University, November 2014
Co-sponsored by the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University,
with sponsorship by the Department of Art & Archaeology,
John H. Rassweiler, and
and held in McCormick Hall in November 2014
“Words & Deeds”
Princeton University, 25–26 March 2016
The Department of Art & Archaeology
The Index of Christian Art
James Marrow & Emily Rose
We welcome suggestions for subjects, venues, sponsorship, participation. Please Contact Us.