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Philology and Aesthetics

Figurative Masorah in Western European Manuscripts


Edited By Hanna Liss

European Bible manuscripts and their Masorah traditions are still a neglected field of studies and have so far been almost completely disregarded within text-critical research. This volume collects research on the Western European Masorah and addresses the question of how Ashkenazic scholars integrated the Oriental Masoretic tradition into the Western European Rabbinic lore and law. The articles address philological and art-historical topics, and present new methodological tools from the field of digital humanities for the analysis of masora figurata. This volume is intended to initiate a new approach to Masorah research that will shed new light on the European history of the masoretic Bible and its interpretation.

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“How Am I Supposed to Read This?” Challenges and Opportunities of Medieval Western Masorah as a Digital Scholarly Edition (Clemens Liedtke)


Clemens Liedtke

Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies

“How Am I Supposed to Read This?” Challenges and Opportunities of Medieval Western Masorah as a Digital Scholarly Edition

Abstract: The article discusses the impact of Digital Transformation in the Humanities on the design of modern research projects such as manuscript editions. It outlines the opportunities of modern digital manuscript repositories for the field of Jewish Studies and contrasts them with the challenges of digital methodology and the transformation of hermeneutical approaches into „data modeling“. Introducing the long-term project “Corpus Masoreticum” as a DH project, controversial aspects of whether to choose a standardized TEI-XML approach or a text-as -a-graph model are being discussed. As a hands-on example, it is shown how alternative encoding practices can be applied to digital editions of so-called masora figurata in western medieval bible manuscripts. Finally, an overview of the project’s infrastructural and technological architecture is being given.

Keywords: Digital Edition, IIIF, TEI, Graph Databases, masora figurata

What kind of effects does the introduction of digital processes to the humanities have on the design of contemporary research projects? How do we develop a concept of (medieval) manuscripts as a readable “data model”? What kind of structural complexity does the metatextual phenomenon of so-called masora figurata in Western medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts add to the set of methodological and technological requirements for a digital scholarly edition?

These initial questions aim to create connections between some rather general reflections...

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