The 2020-2021 Books Known Only by Title Webinar Series
Jeremiah Coogan is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Oxford.
Liv Ingeborg Lied is Professor of the Study of Religion at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society in Oslo.
Sabine Schmidtke is Professor of Islamic Intellectual History in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ.
Anna Rebecca Solevåg is Professor of New Testament Studies at VID Specialized University in Stavanger, Norway, and director of the PhD program in Theology and Religion.
Årstein Justnes is a professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Agder and leader of the Lying Pen of Scribes project.
Book lists of Jewish, Christian and Islamic origin survive from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in a series of languages, shapes and genres. But book lists are more than dry data; they offer a glimpse into the intellectual landscape of their authors and communities.
Books lists give scholars an alluring sense of order and control, promising tools for dealing with the gaps and the complexities of long-gone literary worlds. However, a closer look at the lists show that they often include intriguingly unruly elements, such as books known only by title and books that the list makers themselves knew vaguely or by hearsay. Some entries changed in transmission or as the lists moved across linguistic and religious borders; some entail power and gender logics under-examined by the generations of scholars that have mined them. Book lists attest to ontological multiformity, a move beyond the binary evaluation of “extant/lost.”
This webinar will explore book lists in their own right, including some of the less familiar ones, as a gateway for research on canons and for debates about the categories and scale of literatures of the past. The panel will pay attention to ways of knowing about books in a manuscript culture and offer a critical look at the current academic imagination of late antique and medieval literatures.