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The University of Southampton
HistoryPart of Humanities

Research project: Virtual Magic Bowl Archive

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Virtual Magic Bowl Archive The aim of VMBA is to provide an environment that will allow collaborative work on material that is otherwise difficult to access or unavailable. The Scribe's Discretion - Textual Variability of Two Popular Ethiopic Texts: The Scroll of Righteousness and The Magic Book of the Disciples. Ethiopic literature of protection provides manuscript witnesses covering about half a millennium. In this project a study will be made of the detail in the nature of variance between duplicates of the same text. The thesis behind this approach is that scribe practitioners who prepare such texts abide by a tradition of flexibility rather than rigidity. Two texts have been chosen for which a wealth of variants occur and for which there is evidence suggesting their production is still current. Manuscripts will be sought in the UK, Ethiopia and Israel. Two journal articles, a catalogue of the variants recorded, and material for the preparation of editions including variants of each of these two texts will be prepared. The project will last for two years and is being funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Traditional beliefs and chronic non-communicable diseases in Ethiopia. The aim of this project is to lay the ground for an investigation of the traditional conception of chronic, non-communicable disease amongst the peoples in the Amhara region of Ethiopia and how this affects their approach to modern medical care and their response to its management strategies. We aim to review available literature on traditional approaches to chronic disease amongst our target population, set up an interdisciplinary workshop bringing people together from a wide range of different backgrounds, develop a questionnaire with professionals and patients to address our research question, and interview a sample of patients. This project is funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of their Wellcome Medical Humanities Small Grants to Dr Dan Levene and Prof David Phillips from the Faculty of Medicine.    

Detail from a Magic Bowl

By providing access to this material to a number of scholars and their students we aim to encourage the production of critical editions of these texts and their publication. A single portal providing access to a shared virtual environment where this can occur provides a convenient forum for collaboration between a small group of scholars from different institutions spread in a number of countries.

Within VMBA scholars can work on material collaboratively. The virtual archive provides an environment within which scholars and students can work in view of each other and take full advantage of the expertise of the whole collective. Additionally, it will foster a mentoring approach by encouraging the participation of post graduate students who can benefit from the watchful eye, comments and suggestions of the more experienced scholars.

VMBA is the product of a variety of collaborations within The University of Southampton and without.

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