COLLOQUE INTERNATIONAL DE PALÉOGRAPHIE LATINE
St-Gall (CH), 11 14 septembre 2013
Nature Function Specifics
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The holding of the conference in the setting of the ancient abbey of
Saint-Gall, whose famous ninth-century plan is one of the few witnesses
to the physical existence of a scriptorium, provides an opportunity to
engage upon consideration of the meaning cloaked by this word.
The term was introduced into the scholarly vocabulary only relatively
recently, at the beginning of the twentieth century, when it replaced
other expressions that have appreciably different connotations ('école
calligraphique', for instance). The publication of Albert Bruckner's pioneering
work, Scriptoria Medii Aevi Helvetica (1935-1974, 12 vols) and
the founding of the journal Scriptorium by Camille Gaspar, Frédéric
Lyna and François Masai in 1946, contributed greatly to the popularity
of the term.
Its meaning, however, has remained rather vague. Some would extend it
to any kind of centre of manuscript production, and are happy to refer
to lay scriptoria, or even private scriptoria. Others, by contrast, use
it in only a very restricted sense to apply just to those centres that
are famous for the quality and quantity of their production. In most cases
it remains an abstraction, failing adequately to shed light upon the practical
realities to which it refers.
Some closer definition is therefore required.
One possibility is to define a scriptorium as a unit of production
(possibly just a group of individuals) operating at the heart of
an ecclesiastical institution and intended to fulfill its need for books,
completely independent of any commercial context. But is such a definition
satisfactory or adequate? What are its implications?
The list of issues set out below are intended to elicit various kinds of response to these questions, whether based upon the analysis of a body of evidence or drawn from especially significant examples.
1. The word and its meaning
a) The use and usage of the word scriptorium (and its synonyms);
the evidence of different kinds of source (literary, iconographic, etc.)
for its existence as an institutional entity.
a) Ecclesiastical requirements with regard to books for study,
the liturgy and archives.
a) How can one prove the existence of a scriptorium?
Proposals for papers, with details of current position and/or status, should be sent to D. Muzerelle, General Secretary of the Comité (firstname.lastname@example.org) before June 1, 2012, together with a synopsis of between 1000 and 2500 characters (not counting spaces).
Proposals and papers should be given in one of the approved languages of the Comité: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish (Castillian).
Prospective contributors are invited to indicate which issue or issues itemized above will be addressed. Preference will be given to papers that intend to examine one or two issues in depth rather than to surveys of a large number of them. Some indication of the visual material that authors intend to support their papers is also desirable.
Prospective contributors will be informed whether their proposals have
been accepted on or after July 1, 2012.