Inventorying ‘pre-modern’ manuscripts in Victorian public and private collections

Professor Guy Geltner

Bischoff Manuscript Collection

Image provided by Monash University Library Special Collections.

About the project

Inventorying ‘pre-modern’ manuscripts in Victorian public and private collections

Scattered throughout Victoria are hundreds of manuscript books, fragments, and other documents from different cultures around the globe. These invaluable sources, for both academic research and cultural enrichment, are not centrally listed or described, and in some cases, there is little or no information available about them. Nor are many of these works accessible in digital form through a single, sustainable platform. As a first step towards addressing this situation, our project combines:

  1. outreach to individuals, institutions, and communities to uncover hitherto unknown material, or items that are poorly described;
  2. a staged canvassing of known collections in Victoria; and
  3. exploring pathways to combining the available inventories.

This exploratory project focuses on textual material written down in Arabic script, Hebrew, Greek and Latin before 1600. We are interested in both whole manuscript books and individual leaves, written on paper, parchment or papyrus. We are interested in all kinds of texts, of which the following are just some examples: literary (stories, poems, works of history or philosophy), religious (sermons, prayers, liturgical texts), administrative (accounts, letters, diplomas, certificates), educational (grammar books, works on geography or science).

With the long-term aim of bringing together existing information about the items held in different places into a single public resource, this project seeks to collect information about items that are not yet or very poorly described.

If you would like more information about this project, please contact sophis-manuscripts@monash.edu

Treasure quest: Researchers embark on a pre-modern manuscript mission (Monash Lens)


Project team

Head of project

Professor Guy Geltner, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University

Steering committee

Dr Aydogan Kars, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University

Dr Kathleen Neal, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University

Professor Carolyn James, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University

Dr Andrew Connor, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University

Dr Anne Holloway, Monash University Library

Associate Professor Michael Champion, Biblical and Early Christian Studies, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University

Dr Matthew Champion, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University

Dr Anna Welch, State Library of Victoria

Associate Professor Andrea Rizzi, School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne

Project coordinator

Dr Janice Pinder

Research assistant for Arabic script material

Dr Leila Alhagh

Research assistant for Hebrew script material

Dr Merav Carmeli

Research assistant for Greek material

John Henry

Research assistant for Latin material

Dr Steven Joyce

Database builder

Dr Robert Turnbull