Thursday, August 11, 2016

NEH award to the Jubilees Palimpsest Project

CONGRATULATIONS TO TODD HANNEKEN AND HIS TEAM: Jubilees Palimpsest Project uses new technology to explore old manuscripts.
Todd Hanneken, Ph.D., is like Indiana Jones, only his quests happen within centuries-old artifacts instead of in pursuit of them.

St. Mary’s University was awarded a $325,000 grant this week from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund the Associate Professor of Theology’s work revealing hidden words within biblical literature. It’s called the Jubilees Palimpsest Project.

Hanneken is the first scholar to use Spectral RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) to excavate text from ancient books and manuscripts. These artifacts, called palimpsests, haven’t been legible for centuries – because they were erased.


The team focuses on the Jubilees Palimpsest, a fifth-century erased Latin manuscript containing ancient books excluded from the Bible:
  • The Book of Jubilees, originally written in the second century B.C., is Moses’ retelling of Genesis and Exodus as a legal narrative. It further describes creation and descendants of Adam and Eve.
  • The Testament of Moses is a Jewish text from around the time of Jesus that describes a messianic figure other than Jesus.
  • The Arian Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, written in the fourth century A.D., reflects the ideas of the followers of Arius, who were deemed heretics because they considered God the Son to be subordinate to God the Father.
Each was erased and an anthology of the writings of Augustine was written on the parchment. The palimpsest itself has been at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan since the 17th century.


Background here. A book by Dr. Hanneken was also noted here. Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch and Technology Watch.