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Cataloguing of the Greek manuscripts of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) and the Goettingen State and University Library (SUB)

The project’s aim is a scholarly catalogue of the Greek manuscripts of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) and the Goettingen State and University Library (SUB) according to the DFG-guidelines for manuscript cataloguing. The project will be conducted at the Centre for Manuscript Studies of the Leipzig University Library.

The project includes 88 Greek manuscripts from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period (66 complete codices and ten fragments) as well as 88 testimonies to the Western academic reception of the Greek-Byzantine patrimony from the 16th to the 18th century. The manuscripts cover a broad spectrum, which ranges from bible, liturgy, theology, classical and Byzantine literature and Greek poetry to grammar, rhetoric, lexicography, philosophy and historiography; there are also texts on historical natural science, mathematics and alchemy. Among the medieval Byzantine manuscripts there are no less than 34 items that were written before the 15th century.   

The project has a great potential for a fundamental re-evaluation of the objects to be catalogued. For both collections there exist only printed catalogues from the late 19th century representing a historical state of knowledge which therefore is outdated. Regarding the material-codicological data, both catalogues barely offer any information; they are thus essentially useless for the purposes of present-day scholarly research focused on issues of materiality. Furthermore, the old catalogues do not adequately reflect the current state of the manuscript holdings. In addition to new acquisitions and recent finds, there are also losses dating to the Second World War and changes of the state of preservation which have to be taken into account. An in-depth catalogue according to modern scholarly standards will for the first time allow the manuscript holdings in Dresden and Goettingen to be analyzed in terms of their importance for research into the history of both the transmission of the texts and the history of scholarship. At the same time the project will provide an abundance of codicological and historical data that will permit an adequate understanding of these manuscripts in the specific contexts of their origin and later usage.

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