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Eléonore Cellard
Thread. Fragments of Qur’ān manuscripts 1/9. Early Qur’āns are fragmented. What does FRAGMENT mean here? Sometimes, we have almost whole Qur’āns with a few missing leaves. Other times, it's just one leaf.. So, how could we know if these fragments were complete Qur’āns at first?
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
2/9. Here is an important issue! Indeed, our understanding of the history rests on the value of the material testimony. Considering a whole Qur’ān manuscript implies a context (purposes, actors, costs..) different from a short extract of the Qur’ān written on a piece of leather..
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
3/9. The only way to answer that issue is to do codicology, that is a long and boring observation of each material detail in order to reconstruct the original appearance of the artefact. And that’s what I’m especially interested in.
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
4/9. Except the few later rolls I presented on Twitter sometimes ago, all of our materials are in shape of leaves (folios), often double-leaves (bifolios) folded in the middle. That’s an evidence for a codex shape. Let’s explain briefly what a CODEX is..
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
5/9. In Antiquity, books had various shapes (rolls, tablets..). The codex is a later innovation with many practical gains. For that, it prevailed in many cultures. It's made of sheets of papyrus or parchment, overlapping, and folded in the middle. Here, they are stitched together
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
6/9. Making a codex has improved over time, in order to assure strength and longevity to the book. The “multigathering codex” is one of these important innovations. Indeed, long texts, like the Bible, imply to overlap many sheets, too many… And the codex is distorted and weak.
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
7/9. That's why craftsmen divided the book in multiple small units or quires, each with a limited number of folded sheets and organized in the same way. Then, the quires were stitched together. In other words, FRAGMENTS are a component of the multigathering codex.
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
8/9. If we analyze carefully our Qur’ān fragments (those with more than 1 leaf), we find that these actually correspond to quires (sometimes damaged) from an original codex. Here is one of my favorite example: the Codex Amrensis 1 has today 75 leaves, which belong to 12 quires.
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 19
Replying to @CellardEleonore
9/9. Sometimes, we can go further.. For CA1, the quires which are preserved reveal a strange but very logical structure. Perhaps an evidence for a particular way to bind the volume or the volumes. And many other Qur’āns can reveal secrets when they are analyzed in that way..
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Jake Benson Jan 20
Replying to @CellardEleonore
To me, a “detached” but otherwise intact and complete single folio or bifolium, much less an “incomplete” or “defective” volume missing folios are not necessarily “fragments,” which generally refers damaged, incomplete portions of a single page.
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Eléonore Cellard Jan 20
Replying to @Jake___Benson
Indeed, the word “fragments” generally refers to pieces from a single leaf, as papyrologists use it. But this word is often used in our field for designating damaged codices. This is why I thought it could be useful to shed light on that point
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