“Ostraka and the culture of writing in Egypt’s deserts”
Roger Bagnall, Leon Levy Director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The Memorial Room, The Queen’s College, Oxford University
Among the exciting new bamboo and silk manuscript finds from early China are texts that have counterparts in the received literature and thus reveal new insights into the formation of the ancient textual tradition. One such text, recently published by Qinghua University, parallels the “Metal-bound Coffer” (Jinteng) chapter of the Hallowed Documents (Shangshu), the preeminent canon of ancient Chinese political thought. In comparing the newly found—albeit unprovenanced—manuscript from ca. 300 BCE with its received counterpart as well as with other parallels in the textual tradition, the lecture analyzes significant textual differences and their implications for both the original context of the manuscript and the editorial processes that have given us the received text. This analysis further leads to the methodological considerations that must be brought to the study of early Chinese manuscripts in general.
The aim of this workshop is to examine material aspects of writing and text production, as well as transmission and the interface between the oral and the written, across pre-modern literate societies.
The Workshop meets once each term at Queen’s College on Wednesday of 5th week at 18.00, with invited local or external speakers. Further meetings may be held at other times. Attendance is open to all members of the University. Those interested are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance so that numbers can be estimated.
Presentations will be both specialised and interdisciplinary in perspective. We would like to generate wider discussions crossing subject boundaries by focusing on methodological issues.
The workshop is intended for graduate students and Faculty members; undergraduates are also welcome.
The inaugural paper, on Wednesday 7 November, will be given by Professor Rosalind Thomas of Balliol College, who is well known for her work on orality, with the title: Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece and the New Positivism.
The convenors of the workshop are: