What the Voss papers may show

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StephenGoranson
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What the Voss papers may show

Post by StephenGoranson » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:29 am

As you know, binding paper is usually stronger than book page paper.
The Voss 1646 book was brought from Mar Saba to Jerusalem, to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate library, in the Spring of 1976, as detailed by Guy Stroumsa.[1]
The librarian there was Archimandrite Kallistos Dourvas. In 1977 Dourvas reportedly[2] removed the two sheets from the Voss book, the last book sheet and the binding sheet next to it.
Presumably, librarian Dourvas tried to remove the two sheets carefully. Recall that the book front cover and spine cover were both missing, but the rear cover was intact and in place.
As shown in photographs [3] taken after removal, the book page was removed with little damage on the inside edge, but the binding sheet shows on the inside edge, among other damage, three considerable size tears. This indicates that the rear binding was still strong, though the front binding and spine had gone missing. This anomaly between front matter and spine (with, almost always, ownership identifications) and the back binding was apparently not a matter of gradual wear and tear from readers but a deliberate removal of the front. Physical evidence.
[1] J. of Early Christian Studies 11 (2003) 147-53.
[2] Charles W. Hedrick, with Nikolaos Olympiou, “Secret Mark; New Photographs, New Witnesses, The Fourth R v. 13 n. 5 (200) 3-16, here page 9.
[3] Hedrick, pages 5, 11, 12, and 13.
Last edited by StephenGoranson on Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:00 am

Presumably, librarian Dourvas tried to remove the two sheets carefully.
Why is that true? I don't even know that Dourvas was the one who ripped the pages. When I called the current librarian back in the day (or more correctly was speaking with Tselikas in his office at the Patriarchate and the phone was handed to this man) I was lectured about the 'incorrectnesss' of interest in the document, it was heresy and then a series of rhetorical questions followed, why don't I accept the Nicene Creed and then an almost line by line interrogation of its contents. No your made up story is not fact. It's a creation of your mind. The pages were ripped in a rough manner careless rather than a 'careful' manner. There are ways of removing pages from a book which show due respect to a document. The way these pages were taken out show the person who did this was not taking the proper precautions, he was not being 'careful.' Yes I've had accidents opening packages. One year I tried to open plastic packaging with a knife and ended up requiring stiches at the local hospital. We can't assume that the pages were ripped out 'angrily' or because of a dislike of the contents. But I think 'carefully' is a stretch. There are things called scissors even at the Patriarchate in Jerusalem.

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:30 am

And again, I am always puzzled by your open-ended inquiries. The book is still available for examination. Why, if you are truly interested in the binding, don't you contact the Patriarchate? You're obviously retired. Tselikas is sympathizes with your obsession. Just call him up or send him an email and examine the book and determine whatever you want about the book - other than of course the missing front page. I do believe that Tselikas has said somewhere that the missing cover is hardly surprising given the state of other books at the library. But when have you ever let a thing like expertise get in the way of good theory? I can PM you Tselikas's email, phone number the email or phone of the librarian at the Patriarchate. I can forward you emails that I sent about the binding to bookmaking and binding experts. No one thought it was strange. But what the hell. I've asked the same questions over and over again in slightly different ways and come up with new and surprising answers so why not? We can work on this together if you'd like.

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:31 am

Here's one of my emails to an expert in bookbinding from 2015:
Dear Mr Huller,

The structure of this book, as far as it can be seen in the photographs, would be absolutely typical of a book bound in Amsterdam in the mid-seventeenth century, sewn on four (the typical Dutch number) flat parchment-tape sewing supports with transverse linings of printed paper waste, cut narrower than the panels on the spine (not a tacket in sight, I'm afraid). Unfortunately, it is not possible to be sure from the photographs whether the tail edge (on the left) was left uncut or has simply been damaged. It could well be uncut and it was possible to buy books as sewn bookblocks, often left with uncut edges, and a few of these have survived, but it is perhaps equally likely that the book has thst it has simply lost an original parchment-covered laced-case cover with boards, which is what you would expect to find on a Dutch retail binding of the period. There appears to be no visible evidence of endbands, which would usually be found on such bindings, but the photographs are not clear enough to prove that either way. If there were no endbands, that would support the theory that this might be a sewn bookblock. Photographs of the outer surfaces of the endleaves might yield some more information. Either way, it is no surprise to find such a book at Mar Saba. My experience of the library at St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai indicates that the fathers acquired many relevant printed Greek texts from the late fifteenth century onwards, so finding this edition at Mar Saba is to be expected. St Catherine's had dependencies in various European countries which bought books locally and, in general, it seems that the fathers in Orthodox monasteries travelled widely and acquired books, and even had books printed, when on their travels (Vatopaidi has a book from the library of Prince Henry, elder brother to Charles I of England, bought at an auction in Amsterdam in 1641). Visitors to monasteries also left books behind when they left (or died) and the personal books of the fathers were also taken into the library when they died.

I hope this may be of some assistance

Yours sincerely

Nicholas Pickwoad

StephenGoranson
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:44 am

On the comment “I don’t even know that Dourvas was the one who ripped the pages.”
In the article by Hedrick and Olympiou—that I already cited--pages 8-9:
“Kallistos [Dourvas] told [Nikolaos] Olympiou that he had removed the manuscript of the letter of Clement from the Voss edition of Ignatius at the time that he photographed it, shortly after he received it into the Patriarchate library….From what Kallistos told us…That same year (1977) Kallistos removed the Clement manuscript from the printed Voss edition for the purpose of photographing it, and then for shelving along with other manuscripts in the Patriarchate library, in keeping with his original plan for distributing the library holdings.”

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:40 am

Yes. You're right.

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:06 am

That guy whose email I sent you just responded. He wrote:
Thanks for your interesting email. Let me try to answer your questions.

1. An average print-run of a scholarly work like Vossius's edition of the letters of S. Ignatius, for which there would have been considerable interest in the seventeenth-century Republic of Letters, would amount to about a thousand copies (for one reason or another I regularly come across print-runs of 1050 copies), but of course much depended on the publisher's estimation of the market. Joan Blaeu, son of Willem Jansz Blaeu, was one of the best publishers in Amsterdam, who had a large international network for the distribution of his books, via the Frankfurt Bookfair or via other connections. The Blaeu firm certainly had good relations with Italy.
2. From the illustration at the end of your article I can't see if the maculature is manuscript material or printer's waste. In any case, it is quite common in Dutch bookbindings of this period to find such fragments, but that would no doubt also be true for the work of Italian bookbinders. If you were able to identify the text of the manuscript or printed text you may come closer to an answer (for instance, if the maculature has a Dutch origin you may surmise that the binding was done in the Dutch Republic. However, early modern printed books were sold unbound and it was up to the buyer to have his book bound in a binding of his taste, which could have been done anywhere). The binding itself may hold a better clue as to where is was made, but for that I would have to see a photo of the entire binding.
3. As the Blaeu's had good relations with Italy, one route for the book to have travelled to the Middle East might indeed have been via Venice. Another possibility is that Vossius, who had travelled in Italy himself, had sent copies of the book to his network of friends and colleagues, including those in Italy, and that the copy in the Mar Saba monastery may have come from one of them. Are there any indications of provenance in the book?

I am afraid I can't offer more definitive answers. But if you haven't already, you may want to check F.F. Blok's study _Isaac Vossius and His Circle_ (Groningen, 2000), for which much use has been made of Vossius's scholarly correspondence in Latin and in which ample attention is given to the St. Ignatius edition.

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:30 am

His response to Pickwoad's email:
Nicolas Pickwoad is certainly the best authority on historical book bindings, so I follow his opinion. As to an Amsterdam book auction in 1641, the Book Sales Catalogues of the Dutch Republic project (published digitally by Brill in Leiden) mentions only one auction in that year for Amsterdam, but in fact this is an auction held in Copenhagen by a Amsterdam publisher. There will certainly have been more, but in most cases the catalogues of these early auctions have not survived. For Leiden, which was the centre of book auctioneering in this period, we also have only one auction catalogue, be it a quite interesting one, which did survive in three copies: Catalogus librorum reverendi atque eximii theologi D. Francisci Gomari, dum viveret S.S. Theol. nec non Hebraeae ac Chaldaeae linguae doctoris ac professoris primarii in illustri Groningae & Omlandiae academia. Quorum auctio habebitur die [4] octobr. stilo novo (Leiden: Bonaventura en Abraham Elzevier, 1641), 4°: [2], 72 [= 82] pp. Bruxelles KB Cl 10.915 A LP; Paris BNF Q 2135 (no date); Rome Bibliothea Angelica YY.5.16:5*. Might Nicolas not mean this one?

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Secret Alias
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Re: What the Voss papers may show

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:34 pm

I don't want to include the rest of these correspondences as they fall outside my own research but it is quite fascinating. It really gives you perspective on the obtuseness of the monasteries. But I guess, you don't join a monastery if you have 'people skills' or are a 'people person.'

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