Research Tools, and a few queries

  • A new database has been launched: Premodern Philosophical and Scientific Hebrew Terminology in Context, or “PESHAT in Context” for short. This is part of a long-term project, organized by the Institute for Jewish Philosophy and Religion at the University of Hamburg and by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Although it is not yet available for general access, the editors let me have an advance look, and it promises to be a remarkably useful tool for anyone interested either in Hebrew philosophy, or in the transmission of philosophical ideas across Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin. As part of the project, there will also be a regular series of colloquia etc., and a mailing list for those who want to stay abreast of the project. For more information, contact
  • The folk at the Aquinas Institute – the ones who keep publishing these big blue Latin-English volumes – are awfully excited about a new software system that has “revolutionized” their work: Trados Studio 2017. (See the breathless account here.) Really? Is this a big deal for folk like you and me? Does anyone know about this?
  • I happened to notice, over the summer, that the seventeenth and final volume has now appeared of the British Academy’s Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. See a review here. This made me wonder: is this huge project of any use to the study of medieval philosophy? More generally, are there any medieval Latin dictionaries that are of any help to our field (other, of course, than something like the Thomas-Lexikon)?
  • Speaking of useful lexicons, I recently had the occasion to want a digital copy of Cappelli’s great Lexicon abbreviaturarum, the essential guide to Latin manuscript abbreviations. Philip Choi hunted it down here. (This is a German version, but it doesn’t matter. I might add, as well, that this little book can still readily be purchased in print.) This too made me wonder: is there now anything better than Cappelli out there? I seem to recall talk, some years back, of a fully electronic version of something like Cappelli, but I don’t know what came of it.

7 comments on “Research Tools, and a few queries

  1. Florian says:

    re Cappelli:
    • Olaf Pluta (Bochum, Germany) manages the “Abbreviationes” app, which has the Cappelli data and much more. You have to buy a license though.
    • The good people at the chair for medieval history in Zurich (Switzerland) have digitized Cappelli’s Lexicon and made it searchable: (only in German). They have even created an app for your smartphone. Access is free of charge, but you have to register first.
    • When transcribing, I find the Enigma Machine very helpful. It doesn’t expand abbreviations but helps you figure out what those minims may form a sequence of letters and how illegible text may become legible: It’s data is based in Whitaker’s Words, I believe

  2. gloriafrost says:

    Regarding the electronic version of something like Capelli, I found Abbreviationes quite helpful in the past. It has been several years since I’ve used it, but it looks like it can still be purchased here:

  3. Drew Rosato says:

    Auguste Pelzer compiled a supplement to Cappelli that lists abbreviations from Vatican manuscripts. Pelzer gives many abbreviations for theological and philosophical terms that are not found in Cappelli. See Pelzer, Abreviations Latines Medievales: Supplement au Dizionario di Abbreviature Latine ed Italiane de Adriano Cappelli (Louvain, 1964).

  4. bennokerry says:

    Just to comment how useful your In Medias is… had no idea that the good old Cappelli is now e-available. Cordially, Ignacio.

    On Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 10:37 AM, In medias PHIL wrote:

    > RP posted: ” A new database has been launched: Premodern Philosophical and > Scientific Hebrew Terminology in Context, or “PESHAT in Context” for short. > This is part of a long-term project, organized by the Institute for Jewish > Philosophy and Religion at the Universit” >

  5. RP says:

    Thanks much for all these helpful responses.

    As for medieval philosophical lexicons, José Meirinhos responded by email with this:
    there is a Latin-Spanish dictionary, attentive to the most import medieval philosophers: Magnavacca, Silvia, Léxico técnico de filosofía medieval, Buenos Aires : Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2005; 847 p.

  6. Jean-Luc Solere says:

    On the use of the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, see, 4 sept. 2011:
    “Terribile dictu! (Who’s afraid of using a dictionary?)
    A few months ago, at a workshop on 14th-century philosophy, I asked the 17-strong audience whether they used the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. I wasn’t expecting a rapturous response, as our coverage of scholastic terms has for various reasons tended to be patchy, but even so I was surprised when only two hands went up. Now, thanks to one of my colleagues, I’m well placed to write a post with the rather surreal aim of encouraging people who read medieval Latin written by British authors to use the fruits of our labours.
    Roger Bacon’s mid-13th-century treatise Summulae dialectices – printed by Robert Steele in 1940 and re-edited in the 1980s by Alain de Libera, who had better qualifications and a second manuscript at his disposal – has now been translated by Thomas Maloney as The Art and Science of Logic (2009). Anyone who has used this book will be grateful for the effort that Maloney has put into making the treatise intelligible. On occasion, however, he admits defeat. For instance:
    “Under nonfusible body are subalternate species of this sort, namely, corpus terribile and corpus non terribile. Under corpus terribile are species of this sort: salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, clove, and the like.” … I have not been able to find a translation for ‘corpus terribile’.
    Maloney’s decision to leave ‘corpus terribile’ untranslated may seem quite reasonable. But this is one of the many places where Steele had given a different text, and here de Libera’s change – a pseudo-classicization of ‘teribile’ – was for the worse. If either de Libera or Maloney had looked in the Revised Medieval Latin Word-List from British and Irish Sources (1965), he would have found ‘teribilis’ defined as ‘friable’, that is, pulverizable. And if for some reason he had still been unsure, a flick through any classical Latin dictionary would have revealed the relevant root: ‘terere’, grind, pulverize.
    The moral of the story is that even intellectual historians would do well not to ignore our work. The Dictionary will soon have been published as far as SALV–, and for the remainder of the alphabet the Word-List (for all its shortcomings) is evidently better than nothing.”

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