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medieval text manuscripts Blog

Welcome to the Medieval Text Manuscripts Blog!  This blog highlights what makes our text manuscripts particularly interesting and appealing to us – and (we hope) to you too!  Here we explore what these books can tell us about how they were made and used.  We also share what we know of their most fascinating and unusual contents, makers, and owners.  Some of our discoveries are quite significant, some merely amusing, and some bizarre.  All medieval manuscripts have much to reveal to their attentive modern audiences.  Follow our blog to learn more about them.

Porous Borders in Medieval Europe?

Nationalism vs. European unification; these have been pressing questions in Europe since the end of World War II, if not before. They are crucial questions now (and highly controversial ones), given the resurgence of nationalist movements across the world, whether one is contemplating Trump’s “America first,” Brexit, or Marine Le Pen. And these issues certainly have ramifications for medieval historians since contemporary political movements are looking back to the Middle Ages (or a fictionalized version of the medieval past) to support their agendas.

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STUDENTS AS CURATORS: Manuscripts in the Classroom at Ohio State University

Late-July 2020 was a stressful time for many of us in higher education facing the start of a new semester in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ll admit to having been particularly anxious about it all. I’d never before taught in either hybrid or fully online environments, and like so many other instructors I found myself scrambling to come up with ways to help make my students’ “classroom” experience in the fall edifying, engaging, and entertaining.

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I am the scribe, Joel ben Simeon

I collect works by Dora Maar. She was the mistress of Picasso from 1936 to 1945. Before meeting Picasso, she was a surrealist photographer of considerable renown, but Picasso disdained photography as “not art,” and so in his formidable presence she turned to draftsmanship (her “dessins d’après les maîtres”) and eventually to painting. At this point you are wondering: What does this have to do with Joel ben Simeon?

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I've said this before, but it is worth saying it again -- everyone at Les Enluminures believes that teaching with actual medieval manuscripts is a transformative experience–one we want to share with as many people as possible.

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What’s New? Text Manuscripts Update Autumn 2020

Like good parents, we love all our updates equally, but we are particularly excited about the 34 “new” manuscripts that were added to the text manuscripts site on October 1. Here are two of my favorites.

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Patient Portals of the late Middle Ages

If you are like me, you’ve probably visited WebMD more than a few times trying to figure out if your headache is just a headache or an early stage of brain cancer. Or, if you’re more old school, you may have one of those enormous home health compendiums sitting on a shelf somewhere in your house.

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Loose Tongues: Crafting a Reliquary.

Recently, it struck me that the sudden move toward a work-from-home culture feels rather like entering into a monastic lifestyle. It’s a perfect time for contemplation, long delayed home-maintenance, and even some handcrafting...

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