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A brief lexicon of stemmatology

The Parvum lexicon stemmatologicum (PLS) is a scholarly digital resource providing explanations for technical terms related to stemmatology, a discipline of classical and mediaeval philology aiming at understanding the historical evolution of textual traditions. The PLS was initiated, within the framework of the Studia Stemmatologica research network, by Odd Einar Haugen, who was its editor-in-chief until May 15, 2015.  

The necessity of creating such a digital resource becomes evident if one realises that stemmatology is by nature an interdisciplinary discipline, using concepts and methods from a variety of different fields: linguistics, codicology, palaeography, book history, etc. In addition, stemmatology is at the same time an old discipline (dating back from the first half of the nineteenth century in its modern form and from the Hellenistic period in its most ancient attestations) and a discipline that has recently undertaken a methodological revolution, not only because of the digital turn in the humanities, but perhaps more importantly because of the influence of phylogenetics. The PLS attempts to address the challenge of integrating old and new concepts, and besides includes the presentation of methods and tools used in stemmatology and sometimes borrowed from other disciplines, such as computer science, mathematics or biology.

Moreover, as any other venerable discipline of the humanities, stemmatology has developed according to more or less national schools or traditions, in which the same concepts are not always used in exactly the same way. The PLS tries to address this linguistic aspect by providing equivalents of the terms in French, German, Italian, and – where appropriate – Latin.

The list of editors and contributors to the PLS reflects the multidisciplinary and multicultural dimensions of this collective scholarly endeavour. In the last weeks before the release of this version 1.0 (Nov. 13, 2015), much of the work of reviewing this very complex dictionary has been taken up by Marina Buzzoni, Aidan Conti, Odd Einar Haugen, in addition to the two present editors.

The lexicon is certainly not yet perfect, the length and depth of entries varies and there may even be contradictions left here and there, but we agreed that its present state is good enough as a first online version (also available as pdf and html downloads for off-line use). We are working on ideas to turn this resource into a second, completely revised version as a book publication. If you have suggestions, corrections, improvements, do not hesitate to send them to stemmatology (at) gmail.com.

Caroline Macé & Philipp Roelli, editors-in-chief


The PLS was created through volunteer work without major funding, nonetheless it has received support from several institutions – to which we express our thanks – in particular to the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, the University of Bergen, the University of Helsinki, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the University of Zürich, and COST Action IS1005.

This wiki is mirrored at https://www.sglp.uzh.ch/static/MLS/stemmatology/index.html

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License: CC-BY-NC (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/)


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