Stephen Carlson & JONATHAN ZECHER

Our project investigates the marginal notes and commentary (“scholia”) that surround the main text in Byzantine Greek manuscripts. Rather like modern footnotes, scholia are meant to clarify difficulties, expand meanings, and invite reflection on texts. But the aesthetics do not always seem to help. Sometimes the frame commentary script is so tiny, abbreviated, and unfamiliar that it seems to frustrate the unaided reader. To assess the cognitive effects of relatively inaccessible paratexts upon readers of different competencies, this subproject investigates miniature scholia in manuscripts of the Gospels and Pseudo-Dionysius in Paris and Dublin. Through empirical study in collaboration with the scientific team, we seek to determine the cognitive and philological functions of the aesthetics of Byzantine frame scholia and hope to contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive effects of scholia, improve scholarly editions, enhance museum exhibitions, and enrich readers’ experiences of both ancient and modern books today.