Units of Textual Division in Pre-Modern Cultures

The habitual contemporary units of textual division – such as sentences, paragraphs, verse lines – do not match the units of composition and presentation employed in pre-modern cultures. Poor understanding of such indigenous systems often leads to inaccuracies in transcription and interpretation. The problem is complicated by the lack of common language to describe textual division across cultures and the absence of uniform methodology.The aim of this seminar is to explore the diversity of text segmentation practices in epigraphic and palaeographic sources from different regions, identify the common patterns and unique developments in individual cultures, discuss common terminology and exchange experience in the techniques of textual analysis.

The event will take place at Fitzjames I Room, Merton College (OX1 4JD) at 5:00-6:30 pm.


Elamite inscribed object, National Museum of Iran Mosaic world map with captions, Madaba (Jordan) A wooden prism with the Ji jiu pian, a Chinese character learning primer Mosaic with agricultural and maritime scenes, city portraits, and dedicatory inscriptions, Church of St Stephen, Kastron Mefaa (Jordan)