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  • Materiality and community: Digital approaches to Ethiopic manuscript culture

    Daria Elagina

    Chapter from the book: Palladino C. & Bodard G. 2023. Can’t Touch This: Digital Approaches to Materiality in Cultural Heritage.

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    The manuscript tradition of Ethiopia and Eritrea extends from the beginning of the first millennium CE until the present and bears witness not only to a large corpus of texts of various genres and origins, but also to diverse aspects of the social, economic, religious, and cultural life of the region. Each manuscript has a particular role in the life of the society and thus embodies diverse social and cultural practices. Besides intellectual content, much information on the actual role of manuscripts in the life of the societies of Ethiopia and Eritrea is delivered by their material features. Consequently, collection and processing of codicological data on Ethiopic manuscripts is essential for understanding their social lives. This data can be approached from two different but complementary perspectives, the so-called New Philology and Quantitative Codicology. Both of these approaches might profitably be combined with digital research methods, enhancing the ways in which collected data can be processed and interpreted. Digital research methods foster a formalised description of many codicological and paratextual features of Ethiopic manuscripts and their quantitative and qualitative analysis and consequently promote the study of the role of manuscripts in the societies of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The multi-media research environment for the study of the rich manuscript culture of that region developed in the context of the project Beta maṣāḥǝft: Manuscripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea might serve as a solid and flexible platform for the study of the role of manuscripts in society.

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    Elagina, D. 2023. Materiality and community: Digital approaches to Ethiopic manuscript culture. In: Palladino C. & Bodard G (eds.), Can’t Touch This. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bcv.f

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Dec. 18, 2023


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