The Norman Anonymous -- written sometime between 1096 and 1110 in the cathedral city of Rouen -- is a prime example of a medieval Latin text that is better known than read. It is most commonly presented in accounts of medieval political thought as one of the more articulate statements about sacred kingship. The unknown author constructed an ingenious argument that the Christian king is more an heir of Christ than a priest because the priest sacramentally represents only the humanity of Christ, whereas a king sacramentally represents the divinity of Christ the King. With the assumption in the medieval world that the divine is always superior to the mundane, this line of argument clearly identified the king as the highest authority in medieval society. Moreover, when this position is taken in concert with how the texts also treat the papacy, the Norman Anonymous also appears to be a vociferous and radical rebuttal to the so-called "Gregorian" reforms that had only begun to surface some fifty years earlier in Rome. Thus, many modern scholars have categorized the Norman Anonymous as a polemical, anti-Gregorian and "royalist" text, without necessarily querying as to whether this fully represents the entire text.
Such a presentation of kingship as superior to ecclesiastical authority is indeed a fascinating theological argument. However, it is instructive to note that the discussions of the relationship between kingship (regnum) and priesthood (sacerdotium) account for a minority of the texts in the entire collection. Indeed, of the thirty-five individual tractates that comprise the Norman Anonymous, only three of them focus on this topic; that is, only 93 of the 302 pages of this manuscript. It is odd that a set of arguments that account for just over one quarter of the collection has come to represent the whole and has acted as a filter for reading the entire text. At the very least, if we are to understand the thinking of this unknown author, modern readers should also consider the ideas found in the remaining three quarters.
This partial reading of the Norman Anonymous was the result in part because of the lack of a complete critical edition. Heinrich Böhmer, at the end of the nineteenth century, had edited nine of the treatises for the Libelli de lite collection in the MGH (1897); two years later he edited a further eighteen for his own study of church-state relations in England and Normandy at the end of the Investiture controversy. Forty years later Harald Scherrinsky published an additional three of the treatises in an appendix to his own study on the Norman Anonymous (1940). The remaining tracts (as well as some re-edited ones) came into the published light of day thanks to George Williams in his ground-breaking study of this collection of texts (1951).
Williams' study was ground breaking primarily because he affirmed that this text ought to be named the Norman Anonymous. All previous scholars, including the editors of partial editions, had named this text the "Anonymous of York," mainly because of one small tract that refuted Canterbury's claim of being the Primate over all of England, including York. Williams, using liturgical evidence, re-located these texts to Normandy and posited that they were composed in Rouen sometime between 1096 and 1110. During this period, William Bona Anima was the archbishop (r. 1079-1110), a controversial figure in his day. Williams went so far as to suggest that Bona Anima was the author of these texts, but this has not received universal acceptance in the scholarship. Still, no one has refuted the Rouennais context for the composition of these treatises.
However, the collection remained scattered amongst three separate publications and this made it difficult to assess it as a whole. Moreover, the treatises had been enumerated in two different ways which caused only more confusion. In 1966, a young German historian named Karl Pellens executed a complete edition. He adopted the numbering of the tracts established by M.R. James in his descriptive catalog for the repository that possessed the single manuscript copy. For the first time all thirty-five treatises were assembled in one place with a critical apparatus.
Pellens' edition was a welcome contribution to the textual history of the Norman Anonymous, and combined with his own monographic study of the text, it became a good resource for the historical study of medieval theology and church history in the early twelfth century. However, its shortcomings were also apparent and scholars wasted no time in pointing them out. What was particularly troubling was Pellens' insistence on rearranging the tracts. He had become convinced that the Norman Anonymous was comprised of polemical treatises and notes for those treatises. Without any supporting paleographical or codicological evidence, Pellens published the tracts in a new order. That decision, along with some consistent editorial infelicities, resulted in most scholars advising that the edition be used with caution.
To his credit, Pellens responded to his critics and in 1977 he teamed up with his strongest critic, Ruth Nineham, and together they produced a facsimile of the manuscript witness. In this way, Pellens provided greater transparency for his own editorial work perhaps even at the risk of exposing additional errors. In Digital Humanities, such a strategy is called "resource enhancement" and it was a commendable act.
The Electronic Norman Anonymous Project (ENAP) was originally developed to provide a digital equivalent to Pellens' analog form of resource enhancement. Using new, web-based technologies the editors proposed a method of integrating the edited text with digital images of the manuscript page. In addition, they had envisaged of updating the bibliographical components, providing English translations of the apparatus, and correcting the text where it was necessary. All this would be accessible through a web-based application that would permit the reader to move from edited text to manuscript image with relative ease. With funding in place, work began in October 2008.
By the summer of 2009, however, it had become apparent the Pellens' edition was more troubling than most scholars had noticed. To the established critiques, we offer a list of five additional problems:
We came to the conclusion that we had to abandon the idea of enhancing the Pellens edition and instead execute our own. We remained attuned to the work Pellens did, and we do not deny that without it this editorial task would have been a much greater challenge. It was our hope from the beginning that the digital version (or now, edition) would honor the contribution Pellens had made. And, even though we have become more critical of his work, we still remain deeply indebted to him.
Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 415 is an early twelfth-century manuscript book measuring 211 x 135 mm (8.6 x 5.5 in). It is composed of 20 quires which contain a total of 302 manuscript pages (along with four additional pages at both the front and back of the MS). Fourteen of the quires contain the usual 8 leaves, with the rest ranging from 2 leaves (quire 14), to 6 (quire 9), 7 (quires 7 and 19) and 10 (quires 3 and 20). In two instances (quires 7 and 9), pages have been cut out and there is an additional vellum slip sewn into the binding in quire 7 (pp. 112a and 113a). Quires 11 and 12 have been placed in the wrong order and so the correct order should be: quires 10 (pp. 143-158), 12 (pp. 173-188), 11 (pp. 159-172).
In his catalog for the Matthew Parker Library, M.R. James suggested that some of the hands in MS 415 bore similar features of the "Christ Church, Canterbury" hands. George Williams refuted this claim and presented evidence that the manuscript was written in Normandy and possibly at the monastery of Bec. There are 11 scribal hands at work, which break down into six groups (A-F): group A has two hands, as does group B. Group C has four hands and groups D-F are of one hand each. The B hands were responsible for writing the largest amount of text (151 pages), followed by the A hands at 65 pages and then C hands at 41 pages. Hands D-F are responsible for 1 (D and E) to 4 pages (F). In the introduction to the facsimile of MS 415, Nineham and Pellens suggested that the MS was constructed in four phases: in the first phase, quires 1-3 were written; these were then joined to 4-13, after which quires 13-18 were added. Finally, quires 19 and 20 were included. The table below summarizes all this data:
|239-254||D||17||25, 26 (part)||III|
|266-280||C1||18-19||28 (part), 29 (part)||III, IV|
In 2005, Corpus Christi College began a collaborative project with Stanford University Libraries to digitize the Parker Manuscript collection. As of July 2010, 506 of the collection's manuscripts have been digitally imaged (including MS 415) and are now part of the Parker on the Web. In 2007, the Parker Library granted the Center for Digital Theology (CDT) permission to make use of the digital images. The initial intention was to provide internet links to the images using the Parker on the Web user interface. However, that proved difficult for displaying the edited text and page image side by side; and so in late 2008, the Parker Library granted CDT permission to display copies of those images as part of the ENAP application.
ENAP is a critical edition of a single manuscript text. We have not followed Pellens in attempting to conflate a diplomatic and critical edition for two reasons: first, as noted such a strategy often leads to confusing information; and second, with the images of the manuscript pages immediately available to the reader, diplomatic annotations seemed redundant. We do note codicological and paleographical information where such details assist the reader in making sense of the text. Our overall methodology has been the following:
ENAP uses XML technology for encoding. The schema was designed specifically for the editing project, although it drew heavily from TEI P5. It is our contention that schemas ought to properly and fully describe the content and structure of a specific text rather than using generalized elements such as the TEI set. Moreover, this has permitted us to align our encoding strategy much more easily with our practice of usability. We have been able to embed some of the functionality that benefits the user in reading the text into the encoding process. The schema can be downloaded by any user, and the schema's header includes a revision history. The schema also uses the <a:documentation> element to document the scope and function of each element. At the same time we recognize TEI's valiant attempt to provide a standardized approach to encoding texts, so that there is a basis for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and even interoperability amongst projects in the Digital Humanities. In order to facilitate EDI and interoperability, we have "converted" our XML files into a TEI compliant format, and they may be downloaded by any user. Use of those TEI compliant files is governed by the same license that governs the entire ENAP project (see below).
The basic workflow was the following:
ENAP is not just a new critical edition: we intended to create a new way of using such texts. It has become a major principle for internet sites that, even though users want to consume information, they do not want to do it passively. We have adopted this principle in as much as it can be used in the development and presentation of scholarly editions of texts. Not only can the user move from edition, to text and manuscript side by side to the MS page on its own, she can also interact with the text. There are two basic ways to do this:
In addition to the transcription tool, ENAP provides three other user tools:
ENAP is released under two licenses. A ECL2.0 governs the software that runs the digital edition. The Codebase and its documentation are available upon request, though a public release of the API that powers the detection of lines of text in images is scheduled for late October 2010. The edited text is protected by a Creative Commons License 3.0 (cc-by-nc). Full details of the End User License can be found here Users may download one or more tracts of the edition in either of the three formats:
As an TEI-compliant XML file
Please note that the PDF file contains only the apparatus biblicus and criticus, but not the apparatus fontium. The pagination will also differ from the digital edition and so it is strongly recommended that formal citation of ENAP refer to the digital edition and not the PDF documents.
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It can be difficult to become enthusiastic about editing when it is mostly comprised of tough and monotonous tasks, which are then interspersed with small moments of lucidity and joy. Those few moments make it all worthwhile, however, especially when one discovers something about a text that no one else has noticed. If translation is the closest form of commentary, then it is made only possible by the most intimate act of reading: editing texts. For this project, those moments of pure joy were only enhanced by the incredible team I had the pleasure of leading. ENAP's software development has been due to the able hand of Jonathan Deering. Digital humanists sometimes have a love/hate relationship with software developers, as sometimes it appears they don't "get" what we want and the humanist seems incapable of communicating those wants in useful ways. Mr Deering was able to bridge the apparent divide between computer science and scholarly text editing; he was not support staff, but rather a collaborator. He translated my sometimes inchoate ideas into useful functions, challenged me on the projects methods or how we were implementing them; and listened carefully to my critiques of his work. It is important that ENAP users know that Mr Deering is the one who came up with the idea to link text and manuscript line by line (where the initial mandate had been to do a page by page linking) and he developed the User Interface for ENAP's transcription tool.
I also need to thank my co-editor, Tomás O'Sullivan. I hired Mr O'Sullivan, a doctoral candidate in Historical Theology at Saint Louis University, to be my research assistant. It became clear within the first few months that he had much more to offer than doing the grunt work of source criticism. His contribution to the project has been so substantial that it would be simply unjust to name him anything other than co-editor. He took the main responsibility of Tract 24a and all its sibling tracts -- affectionately known as the "beast" in our office. I am indebted to his keen paleographical eye, creative thinking and his excellent work ethic. It needs to be stated, however, that as the senior editor, I take full responsibility for any errors found in the edition.
There are a number of other people who also deserve mention. I am grateful to Hudson Davis for the graphic design of the site. I must also thank Dr Jay M Hammond, Dr Jack Marler, Dr Claude Pavur, Ms Amy Philips, and Mr C. Michael Shea for participating in the usability study. That was a turning point in ENAP's development and I am grateful for their time and their honesty in their assessment of the User Interface. My colleagues in Theological Studies always remained supportive and I especially want to recognize my Chair, Fr J.A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM, for his unwavering support of my research. In addition, I am grateful to Dr Donald Brennan, who was Dean of Arts and Sciences when this project began. He gave the Center for Digitial Theology a place in the University, and he and his staff ensured I had all the support I needed. Outside the University, I must thank John Haegar, Stu Snydeman, Cathy Aster and Benjamin Albritton of the Stanford University Libraries for their advice and support. I am grateful for the opportunities Stanford provided me to give two academic papers about the project.
Finally, I am deeply indebted to the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation, who fully funded this project. The Grant Officers, Donald Waters and Helen Cullyer, admirably represented the Foundation and were continually supportive of the project. I am most grateful for the permission they gave to extend the grant's work period an additional seven months. This has ensured we could produce the best possible edition.
James R. Ginther
St Louis, MO