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The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies & the Global Medieval and Renaissance Studies Faculty Working Group Lecture

The Monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai and its Manuscripts

Crossroads of Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean
Claudia Rapp, University of Vienna

Friday, February 5, 2021, 1 - 2:30 pm (via Zoom).

Founded by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century in a place where the Burning Bush and the Mountaintop where Moses received the Ten Commandments signal the possibility of human encounters with God, the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine has been a destination for monks, pilgrims, and other visitors from many regions of the Christian world. It is not only the oldest Christian monastery in continuous operation, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its extensive collection of icons and its rich library holdings in multiple languages.

After an overview of the history of the Monastery and its association with manuscript production and manuscript ownership, this lecture will explore how the library holdings reflect the presence of Christians from several different language traditions. A special focus will be on the recent work of the Sinai Palimpsests Project (

This event is free and open to the public. To register to receive the zoom link, click here.

[Photograph above by Joonas Plaan (permission details)]

Claudia Rapp is Professor of Byzantine Studies at the University of Vienna, Director of the Division of Byzantine Research in the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Scholarly Director of the Sinai Palimpsests Project.

Her research focuses on social and cultural history, often from the angle of religious history and manuscript studies. Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition, published in 2005, was re-issued in paperback in 2013. Her most recent book, Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium: Monks, Laymen and Christian Ritual (2016) has led to the formation of the Euchologia Project at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Funding through the Wittgenstein-Award has enabled her to assemble a team of scholars for the joint investigation of Mobility, Microstructures and Personal Agency.

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