Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week in Links (The Peregrine Edition)

First, a public-service link: The July ancient/medieval carnivalesque will be hosted here in just two weeks. So get nominating!

And now, on to your regularly-scheduled weekly link roundup:


A trash bag is not an appropriate place to store a medieval manuscript. I'd crack any number of jokes if there weren't such a huge potential for disaster in this story. It's so fantastic that this incredibly important manuscript was recovered intact, although perhaps not totally surprising, since there were suggestions all along that the theft was part of some ecclesiastical intrigue, that is, a temporary black eye designed to sabotage the career of one of the deans of the cathedral. Even so, the potential for someone to have gotten greedy or something to have gotten wrong is tremendous. So, in sum, really good news:

Codex Calixtinus Found in a Trash Bag in the Suspect's Garage

(And a version in English.)

Here are some images of the MS.

And some more analysis in English from Oxford UP.

For a while, they were saying that they'd have it back in the cathedral this week, but it's looking like it's going to be a bit longer.

When it is eventually returned, it will be kept in a secret location. That may or may not be a good thing.


This was last week, but I wanted to hold off posting it, thinking that I might write a full post about it, but then decided I didn't have enough to say. On the one hand, the author is write that much of our business is totally manufactured, and do agree that it can in large part be down to the fact that we fear loneliness, down time, etc. That's certainly the case for me. But there's also more to it than that, and the article comes off as precious as it does clear-eyed. Some jobs just require more time than five hours a day and it's both a little bougie, a little single-minded, and a little too Holden Caulfield for a grown man to suggest that anyone who doesn't skive off at that point to drink minty pink cocktails is faking it. And some people don't manufacture the busy but are just more ambitious than that. And other people just really genuinely love what they do and know that they have to give themselves some time away to reflect, do other things, etc., but just have a really hard time tearing themselves away from it. Long-winded way of saying that I think that there's a kernel of truth here but I guess I was hoping for more:

The 'Busy' Trap

Also not new, but new to me this week: How not to write a book review, p. 55. Helpful tip: Make borderline racist comments about Michael Jordan while pillorying the personal and intellectual integrity of the author of a biography of Moses Montefiore. The only thing that comes through is personal jealousy and contempt for good and intellectually sound writing for a wider audience than professional historians. Sarcasm aside, this really is a very good model of what not to do in a book review:

Review: Moses Montefiore

Speaking of busy and English Jews, I'll definitely have to stop by here to or from the Bodleian when I visit there this fall to have a look at a few MSS that only exist in unusable editions:

Medieval Jewish Cemetery Discovered in Oxford

Another assessment:

On the Arabic Talmud 

A very different answer than a medievalist would give:

Is Philosophy Literature?

For my friends and readers still in grad school: Why not to worry too much about your prospectus or whether it does or doesn't match the final product:

Lies, Damn Lies

Speaking of lies, a weirdly polemical straw-man argument about how the UK National Literacy Strategy is introducing the subjunctive to schoolchildren. What is it about the subjunctive that just brings out people's worst inner pedants?:

Blithering Idiocy on the Subjunctive

And finally, in the shameless self-promotion department, I've spiffed up my web site to make it look a little less high-contrast and a little more professional (although I've left the picture of me with the larger-than-life Lewis chessman, lest anyone think I'd completely lost my sense of humor). I'm pretty pleased. The background image is a photo I took of a door in Jaffa.

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