Networks, manuscripts, glosses and texts

Cover JHNR 9 (2023) - source: JHNRAt the start of my blog ten years ago I already expressed the vision that single legal glosses predating the socalled Accursian gloss of the thirteenth century, should be seen as parts of a larger network. It is therefore a happy occasion to point you here to a special issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research (JHNR) published by the Université de Luxembourg on Networks of manuscripts, networks of texts (vol. 9, 2023) edited by Evina Stein and Gustavo Fernández Riva. The JHNR is supported by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (“C²DH”), well-known for its various projects.

For research on glosses the main contribution in this issue is the long article by Evina Stein, ‘Parallel Glosses, Shared Glosses, and Gloss Clustering. Can Network-Based Approach Help Us to Understand Organic Corpora of Glosses?’ (pp. 36 – 100). Stein proposes a network model for viewing glossed manuscripts as nodes and shared glosses between manuscripts as edges. To reduce possible random parallelisms she introduces a procedure to minimize this kind of “noise”. As a representative corpus Stein uses the early medieval glosses to the first book of the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville which she has recently edited in an online edition. Preaccursian glosses, too, clearly form a corpus that can benefit from such a network approach. Instead of presenting you here also the other articles it is just as useful to point here to the interesting introduction by Stein and Fernández Riva (pp. iii-xvi) which can serve as a kind of status quaestionis for the use of social network analysis in manuscripts studies. The other authors focus on themes such as scribal networks in the Cistercian order in the twelfth century, shared topics in texts, the “codification” of the contents of books of hours, and the connections between abbreviated chronicles in fifteenth-century France.

As for studying preaccursian glosses and the legal glossa ordinaria I would like to mention here briefly the volume Juristische Glossierungstechniken als Mittel rechtswissenschaftlicher Rationalisierungen Erfahrungen aus dem europäischen Mittelalter – vor und neben den großen ‘Glossae ordinariae’, Suzanne Lepsius (ed.) (Berlin 2022). With contributions by renown scholars such as Mario Ascheri, Gero Dolezalek, Magnus Ryan and Tammo Wallinga you will be guided to several texts and their glosses. Beatrice Pasciuta and Suzanne Lepsius herself wrote about glosses added to the Constitutions of Melfi (1231), also called the Liber Augustalis. Hopefully both the special issue of the JHNR and this volume can inspire your own research!


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Otto Vervaart (2023, 11. November). Networks, manuscripts, glosses and texts. Glossae. Abgerufen am 23. Juni 2024, von

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