Joe Rudolph leads a discussion on the Moralia in Job.

The Graduate Student Paleography Group led by Joseph Rudolph, English PhD candidate, meets every Monday morning to read and analyze manuscripts from various periods within the Middle Ages. Our goal is to examine different book hands, primarily in Latin or in languages that use the Latin alphabet, and to become familiar with dating and analyzing medieval handwriting. So far this year, we have looked at Roman, Carolingian, Gothic, and Old English handwriting, and we also had a special session in the fall with Dr. Richard Gyug who introduced us to Beneventan script from southern Italy.

An early thirteenth-century manuscript of the Moralia in Job

This semester, we began by looking at Moralia in Job by Pope Gregory I, which was originally written in the late sixth century. The particular manuscript that we were using is from the early sixth century and was written in English Gothic script. Gothic script, sometimes also known as Blackletter, refers to the writing style in Western Europe between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.

Most of the manuscripts that we read are religious or philosophical in nature. We sometimes run into challenging abbreviations or script that is difficult to decipher, but that’s what makes it fun! Members of our group are encouraged to present manuscripts that they have worked with and to lead the weekly meetings.

The Paleography Group meets every Monday morning at 9:00 am during the spring semester. If you are interested in joining, please email