A project for the electronic edition of the Glossa Ordinaria of the Bible

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ENGLISH The historiography of recent decades has largely shown the importance of the glosses on the Bible for medieval culture, profane as well as religious. Among them, the Glossa Ordinaria, originating at the cathedral school of Laon at the threshold of the 12th century, played a capital role in the history of exegesis, preaching and theology, at least until the end of the Middle Ages.   This work is still not easily accessible. The printed editions, dating from the end of the 15th century up to the 19th (Patrologia Latina) and established on the basis of a misidentified manuscript tradition, represent only a late stage of this glossa. The text, sometimes interpolated, sometimes mutilated, is in any case uncertain. Currently there are available two electronic versions of the Glossa Ordinaria, the Patrologia latina database and VulSearch - http://www.vulsearch.sf.net. Both are from the Migne edition and the latter is incomplete. The incunable edition of reference (Strasbourg, Adolph Rusch, 1480/1481) is available only by way of the facsimile reprinted by Brepols or color digital images owing to the initiatives and collaboration of public libraries. By these means textual research remains slow, unpredictable and uncertain.   Moreover, numerous works of research and edition move forward with neither connections nor coordination. Some have come to fruition in partial critical editions: Mary Dove has published the Glossa Ordinaria on the Song of Songs (1997), and Alexander Andrée the prothemata and first chapter of the Glossa Ordinaria on Lamentations (2005). The publication of the entirety of the Glossa will undoubtedly take several decades.  [Look at état d'avancement des travaux and travaux en cours].

Prompted by these assessments, the researchers signatory to this page, engaged for various reasons in the study of biblical glosses and medieval culture, have undertaken the project of a scientific electronic edition of the Glossa Ordinaria intended to facilitate the work of historians and scientific exchanges.  Our project consists in placing in free internet access a full text version of the 1480/1481 edition of the Glossa Ordinaria. This involves neither a critical edition nor a mere dissemination of images, but rather the transcription into modern typographical characters of an example of the Strasbourg incunable. This research tool will offer many possibilities of interrogation (textual statistics, lexicography, etc.)  of annotation (sources, variants, lists of manuscripts, etc.), of synoptic comparisons with other medieval glosses, such as Hugh of St. Cher's Postillae, the text of which is currently in process

A technical challenge : Contacts with specialists in the field of optical character recognition (OCR) have made clear that the technology for transforming images of incunabula into text remains a strong challenge today. Notable among the obstacles to be overcome are problems presented by Latin abbreviations and the fonts of ancient characters. As a first step, we propose to gather the results of initial trials, now in progress, as well as other contributions, in a site for digital resources. Once the text has been obtained, it will be necessary to reflect upon its structure. We foresee using XML (Extensible Markup Language), which is perfectly suited to electronic editions and which will allow for cumulative work upon the files, for either amendment or enhancement.  A call for collaboration. The realization of this project calls for the meeting and pooling of the competences of all those who work in the vast field of biblical glosses and Western biblical culture. Without prejudice to each one's initiatives, and certainly without detriment to their editorial freedom, this will involve the creation of a scientific platform allowing the promotion of exchanges, the coordination of research and the avoidance of a dispersion of energies.   This is why we would be happy to receive whatever observations or suggestions you may have, and to include you in the international network we propose to put in place. We therefore invite you to contact us as soon as possible by email at the following address: contact@glossae.net .

Louis-Jacques BATAILLON     †    (Leonine commission)

Nicole BÉRIOU    (Université Lyon 2, Institut universitaire de France)

Marjorie BURGHART    (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)

Gilbert DAHAN    (CNRS-École Pratique des Hautes Études)

Martin MORARD    (CNRS-UMR 8584, Institut des études augustiniennes)