Michael Phelps, executive director of the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library, will deliver a presentation today (Feb. 19) from 4-6 p.m. on the subject of the Sinai Palimpsests Project, in which researchers used spectral imaging to recover erased texts from 6,800 pages of palimpsest manuscripts at St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai.
Phelps’ presentation will cover the imaging and image processing methods used by the project and survey its results and impacts. The event, sponsored by Kelvin Smith Library and the Department of Art History and Art, is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Freedman Center Collaboration Commons of Kelvin Smith Library. A reception will follow the lecture.
About St. Catherine’s Monastery and the erased texts
St. Catherine’s Monastery, protected by its remote location in Egypt’s Sinai desert, preserves one of the world’s oldest and greatest libraries. Among its treasures are hundreds of palimpsest manuscripts, the erased layers of which have never been studied. The project recovered erased works in 11 languages that range in date from the 5th to 12th century. Alongside biblical, theological, and liturgical works, the recovered texts include 11 classical works, eight of which are previously unattested. The project is the largest effort to date to use scientific imaging to recover obscured information from historical source materials, and was a collaboration of St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai (Egypt), the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library, and the UCLA Library.