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Title: Mirroring the Reflections of the Soul: The Greco-Latin Psalter
Authors: Morcos, Erene Rafik
Advisors: BarberKitzinger, CharlesBeatrice
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Subjects: Art history
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation introduces the Greco-Latin Psalter as a critical reflection on the materiality of the multilingual codex. The Greco-Latin Psalter is defined as a sub-genre of the Psalter—a volume collecting the 150/151 Psalms and associated devotional texts—in which the Greek and Latin Psalms are paralleled on the same page or across a codex’s opening. Their categorization relies on a production process that features the synthesis of multiple psalters into one and thus allows for the inclusion of additional languages. Reflecting the multilingual appreciation, aspirations, and realities of their medieval viewers, Greco-Latin psalters were created for over a millennium ranging from the sixth through and beyond the sixteenth century. The four chapters of this dissertation investigate how scribes, artists, and readers accommodated the multilingualism particularly prominent in the Psalter literary genre. Through close readings of how the medieval codex’s physical form was activated to display the symmetrical paralleling of the Greek and Latin Psalms, I provide a comprehensive survey of the Greco-Latin Psalter’s vast tradition and argue for an inclusive definition of the sub-genre. The introductory case study is a comparative analysis of three psalters ascribed to the same scribe. Each manuscript rehearses unique solutions to the challenges inherent in the visual paralleling of two devotional texts. Two further case studies investigate the incorporation of figural illustrations into the mirrored Greco-Latin format to consider how a medieval image might simultaneously perform for two texts in a codex. This illustration prompts a dynamic oscillation between text and image while offering a myriad of viewing strategies. As language played a primary role in medieval visual culture, this multilingual corpus provides a powerful rhetorical and visual platform for the self-reflexive expression of the medieval codex. Mirroring biblical poetry entailed the arrangement of script, ornament, and image to create an aesthetic artefact. The materiality of the Greco-Latin Psalter is difficult to categorize within traditional disciplinary boundaries that are often reliant on language division. The linguistic juxtaposition characterizing this subgenre, however, demonstrates a medieval accommodation of more complex identities that provides an exemplary model for modern scholars to mirror.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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