February 19 & 20, 2015
Lincoln and Slocum Rooms, Lilly Library
Dr. William Noel is Director of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, positions he took up in September 2012. Before that, he was Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Cambridge University.
Dr. Noel has published widely. He is the author of The Harley Psalter, Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology, vol. 4 (Cambridge, 1995), and he is the co-editor and contributor to the exhibition catalogue The Utrecht Psalter in Medieval Art: Picturing the Psalms of David (London, 1996). Dr. Noel has directed an international program to conserve, image and study the Archimedes Palimpsest, the unique source for three treatise by the ancient Greek mathematician. He has co-written a popular account of the project, entitled The Archimedes Codex, together with Prof. Reviel Netz, which published by Wiedenfeld and Nicolson (2007). Dr. Noel is also the curator of the exhibition "Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes" and the co-editor of the two-volume publication by Cambridge University Press (2011) called The Archimedes Palimpsest. He was the project director in the creation of full digital surrogates of the Walters Art Museum's holdings of illuminated Islamic, English, Dutch, Central European, Armenian, Byzantine and Ethiopian, and Flemish manuscripts. Dr. Noel has also taught and lectured widely. In 2013, he was honored as a White House Open Science Champion of Change. He is on the Faculty of Rare Book School, University of Virginia, a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) speaker, and a FOO (Friends of O'Reilly) camp veteran.
Mediaevalia 2015 will begin on Thursday, February 19th, at 5pm with a public lecture, "The Archimedes Palimpsest and other Open Books." Abstract: "The Archimedes Palimpsest, a tenth-century manuscript, is the unique source for two of Archimedes' treatises, The Method and Stomachion, and it is the unique source for the Greek text of On Floating Bodies. All these texts were erased in this manuscript in the thirteenth century and written over. In private hands throughout much of the twentieth century, the manuscript was sold at auction to a private collector in 1998 and subsequently deposited at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, by the owner a few months later. Since that date, the manuscript has been the subject of conservation, imaging, and scholarship. Entirely new texts from the ancient world have been discovered and transcribed, using many different imaging techniques. This lecture will describe the history of the Archimedes Palimpsest, its imaging, and the recent discoveries. All the digital images and the transcriptions from them have been released as "free cultural works." Since that time, images of more medieval manuscripts have been released as free cultural works, and this lecture reflects on the presentation of and use of digital images of medieval manuscripts." A hosted reception will follow.
On Friday morning, 9.30 am to noon, Professor Noel will lead a seminar / workshop for faculty and graduate students, "The Psalms, their Interpretation, and their Use." The Book of Psalms, the nineteenth book of the old testament, was central to medieval religious life and thought. It contains the prime liturgical and devotional texts of the middle ages, and was a locus for theological interpretation. Using manuscript examples, students in the workshop will explore the different physical manifestations of the Psalms in the middle ages, which reflect the manifold contexts in which they were consumed, and the many meanings with which they were freighted.
See the event flyer here!