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Scripting the Sacred: Medieval Latin Manuscripts

Scripting the Sacred, an exhibition of Western European manuscripts and fragments, showcases the medieval experience of reading. The exhibition is on display in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda of Green Library through March 17, 2013.

Studying these texts involved not only the absorption of knowledge, but also practices of interpretation, identification, and devotion. By focusing on the exercise of reading, this exhibition explores "scripting" in diverse forms: scribal activity, scripted performances, and inscribed divine things (res divinae).

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Bible remained the paradigmatic text for reading and studying. The exhibited biblical items highlight different preferences pertaining to legibility. Indeed, scribes designed manuscripts to guide, assist, and sometimes challenge readers, as medieval versions of biblical commentary and patristic works exemplify. The liturgical genres on display contain written and visual markers that instruct readers in the proper performance of the Mass, music, and specific feast days. The text portion of the liturgy helped stage the clergy's ceremonial duties. Liturgical fragments with musical notation assisted ritual actors in the memorization of stylized speech. Both components show how customized manuscripts promoted reading aloud. Miniature prayer books and books of hours demonstrate a late medieval trend toward privatized and personalized lay devotion.

Additional materials on exhibition include fine facsimiles from the Art & Architecture Library portraying the national origins of late antique and medieval scripts and illustration, fragments of ancient Egyptian papyri highlighting the gradual transition from papyrus to parchment and from scroll to codex, and a selection of codices and fragments–mainly recovered from the bindings of early printed books–from Stanford's paleography collections.

Far from being a static process, reading in the Middle Ages necessitated a dynamic relationship between manuscripts and their readers, at a much more deliberate and contemplative pace than most modern reading. As we encounter radical changes in our own digital age, this exhibit encourages us to think critically about how we interact with the text, and how these interactions condition the way we acquire knowledge.

Scripting the Sacred is curated by Kathryn Dickason, Ph.D. candidate in Religious Studies and David A. Jordan, assistant director for library development and associate curator for paleographical materials.

Exhibit cases are illuminated Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. The gallery is accessible whenever Green Library is open; hours vary with the academic schedule. To confirm library hours, call 650-723-0931 or go to http://library.stanford.edu/libraries_collections/hours_locations.html

For a map of campus and transportation information, go to http://www.stanford.edu/dept/visitorinfo/plan/maps.html

NOTE: The exhibition is free and open to the public; first-time visitors and those without Stanford ID must register at the entrance to Green Library before entering the building.

Kicker Rod Garcia boots a 31-yard field goal to give Stanford a 13–12 upset victory over Ohio State.

Are you counting the days until the 2013 Cardinal football season starts? If so, why not bask in the glow of past victories a little longer -- stop by the Bender Room (on the fifth floor of the Bing Wing) to see a selection of historic Rose Bowl memorabilia from the collections of the Stanford University Archives. The exhibit will be on view through the end of February.

On Thursday night at 6:30 in Annenberg auditorium there will be a screening of "American Meat" , a documentary about sustainable meat filmed from a farmer's perspective, preceded by food at 6:00. This will be followed at 8:00 by a panel discussion, featuring Maisie Greenawalt (Bon Appétit), Rosamond Naylor (Stanford's Center on Food Security and the Environment, Vasile Stanescu (Stanford, and Journal of Critical Animal Studies, and David Evans (Marin Sun Farms), moderated by Professor Debra Dunn (d.school).

Marilyn Yalom, author of How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance, speaks this afternoon at the Stanford Humanities Center. Hear Yalom discuss her readings of French literary works and the memories of her experiences in France, which she uses in her book to illuminate the central tenets of France's gospel of love.

This event is free and open to all and a small reception and book signing will follow the talk.

You can read a review of How the French Invented Love here.

Check SearchWorks for titles by Marilyn Yalom available in the libraries.

Thursday, November 15, 2012. 4:15 PM.
Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center
424 Santa Teresa Street

Poster for the October 2012 Stanford Presidential Lecture in the Humanities and Arts, by Michael Ignatieff.

Michael Ignatieff Presidential Lecture Website

On October 15, 2012, at 6:00 p.m., Michael Ignatieff will give the 2012-2013 Stanford Presidential Lecture in the Humanities and Arts: "On Partisanship: Enemies and Adversaries in Politics."  The lecture will be held in the Stanford Humanities Center.

In preparation for this event, Matthew Marostica, Curator for Political Science and Economics in the Stanford University Libraries, has written an introductory essay about Ignatieff's remarkable work and career, including a rich annotated bibliography and set of excerpts from Ignatieff's writings.

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