Mapping The Margins

Studying paratexts in all their variety in ancient manuscripts is an opportunity to learn how people from a past time experienced these manuscripts, how they understood them, and what they did with them.

This project extends prior research by assembling a multidisciplinary team and using today’s technologies to better understand how people from the past and in modern times process and approach Sacred Traditions through paratext.

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  • Can the assertions of theologians and philologists regarding the function and significance of various kinds of paratexts in religious literature be tested using the tools of cognitive psychology?
  • Which forms of paratexts (images, layout, commentary, segmentation, titles, etc.) are optimal for instilling knowledge, understanding, and/or aesthetic appreciation?
  • Does a higher aesthetic valuation of paratexts improve their ability to impart knowledge? Is perceived beauty a factor in knowledge acquisition?
  • How do expert and novice readers differ in their perception of paratexts? Do these differences impact the ability of paratexts to impart knowledge?
  • How are textual and paratextual features integrated into artwork appreciation in “real time” as people view the work? In other words, how does the presence or absence of paratexts alter artwork appreciation and the encoding of knowledge?

Team Member Interviews

Mapping the Margins has a diverse global research team with each member contributing their unique expertise to our shared project. From varied backgrounds and perspectives, our team collectively enriches our approach. Explore the distinct expertise of each team member as we look to map the margins of sacred texts.

Asma Helali

Nicola Bajetta

Alejandro Bahena-Rivera

Elvira Marin-Contreras

Jonathan Zecher

Kelsie Rodenbiker

Martin Fischer

Matthew Keegan

Francis Watson

Jennifer Knust

Stefan Schorch

Sinead McCartan

Stephan Carlson