As part of an interdisciplinary seminar organised by Prof. Julia von Ditfurth on “Objects” in medieval studies for MARS (Middle Ages & Renaissance Studies) at Freiburg University, I taught a class on the Medingen manuscripts as cultural objects, in conjunction with Carolin Gluchowski (DPhil student Oxford), Marlene Schilling (MSt student Oxford), and Dr Andrew Dunning (Bodleian Library). This blog post was originally meant to provide preparatory material and a sneak preview of the session.

1. Make your own medieval manuscript

Print settings

  • Download the file GT2-for-doublesided-printing.pdf (GT2 refers to the manuscript sigla of the Medingen prayerbook SUB Göttingen Theol. 242, cf. here for the transcript)
  • Print it out on a colour printer, on A4 paper, choosing “all”, “colour”, “actual size”, and “double sided”, resulting in 3 pages
  • Cut it along the middle, producing 6 A5-sized pages, each representing one of the conjoined parchment leaves
  • Cut off the outer white margins (but not cutting through the pages and taking care not to cut off any marginal images!)
  • Assemble the leaves into one gathering / quire. Start with the double spread with the folio number “7” on top right hand corner with the marginal illumination of St Anne with BMV & Christ on her lap (Anna selbdritt)
  • Stich the gathering into a cover. Use an A5 piece of cardbord – recycling is fine; that’s what the nuns used to do! For sewing following the visual clues in the centrefold of the gathering (left to St Anne): pierce it in the middle, one stich up to the top, back through the centre, stich to the bottom, up again and knot!

2. Engage with manuscripts via live online presentation

We will consult three manuscripts written in the Abbey of Medingen which are held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Dr Andrew Dunning, Curator of Medieval Manuscripts, will show them live via visualiser. Please look at the digital images (link in the furthest right hand column) of at least one of the manuscripts in advance and think of questions you want to ask which cannot be fully answered by consulting the digitised images (O3 is held in Keble College and is not yet digitised). The numbers in the penultimate colume are the Handschriftencensus numbers

O1GB-Ob: MS. Lat. liturg. f. 4Prayer book: EasterLatin with German8287hab.bodleian
O2GB-Ob: MS. Lat. liturg. e. 18OrdinariusLatin with German16258hab.bodleian
O3GB-Okc: Ms. Nr. 18Prayer book: saintsby Mechthild ElebekeLatin16257
O4GB-Ob: MS. Don. e. 248Psalterby Margarete HopesLatindigital.bodleian
Sortable List of Manuscripts. Cf. list of the RISM sigla for the libraries

3. Reflect on the relation between material and digital representations of manuscripts

This is an updated version of a blog post originally written for a Master Seminar ‘Zu den Dingen!’ in Freiburg. The final seminar discussion focussed on the relationship between material and digital engagement with manuscripts. For reference, watch the following talk from the Dark Archives conference 2020

Teaching Medingen Manuscripts as Objects
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