Mapping the textual transmission process of midrash Pirqa de-Rabbenu ha-Qadosh (PRQ) editing multiple variants electronically

Bearbeiter: Anna Busa - École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris (France) / Goethe Universität, Frankfurt (Germany)


To date no less than one hundred manuscripts (mss) have been identified carrying the medieval numerical midrash Pirqa de-Rabbenu ha-Qadosh (PRQ). The mss mainly stemming from the Cairo Geniza, reflect the tendency from the antiquity to the Middle Ages to take small extracts from larger earlier works containing mostly anonymous wise or useful sayings, and to compose anthologies of these. This is a key method by which ideas and morals were widely circulated across different countries and a long period of time. The sayings selected from various mss were reorganized, reordered, and words or sentence structures were modified. The body of these texts can hence be regarded as a complex network of individual sayings that are interrelated in a variety of ways: Yet their material supports (codex, roll, rotulus), their size, the geographically diverse scripts, and textual variants differ largely over time (1100-1500 C.E.) An analysis of these relationships will reveal much about the dynamics of Jewish cultures that created and used these texts. How to map the textual transmission process of PRQ adequately? The difficulties editing multiple variants of this text, its reconstruction and the editorial options mapping its textual transmission, shall be established and tackled by electronic means.