Publication details

Heretical Hands at Work: Reconsidering the Genesis of a Cathar Manuscript (Ms. Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Conv. soppr. J.II.44)

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Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Revue d'histoire des textes
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Liber de duobus principiis; Catharism; Cathars; dualism; manuscript; additions; marginalia; biblical exegesis; sapiential literature; wisdom; apocalyptic; apocalypticism; reading practices; medieval heresy; MS Firenze BNCF Conv. soppr. J.II.44
Description This article reconsiders all the additions and marginalia and some of the reader marks in the Cathar manuscript J.II.44 held by the National Central Library of Florence (Firenze, Biblioteca nazionale centrale, Conv. soppr., ms. J.II.44, also known under the shelf mark I.II.44), revises the identification of scribal hands, and draws some conclusions concerning the genesis and use of the codex. The additions and reader marks were undervalued and partly misinterpreted in Antoine Dondaine’s, Arno Borst’s, and Christine Thouzellier’s classical presentations of the manuscript. A careful reassessment of the reader marks and additions shows that these important witnesses to further use of the manuscript do not come from an inquisitorial milieu, as Borst and Thouzellier hypothesized for some of them, but mostly point to the milieu of the Cathar Church of Desenzano in the mid-thirteenth century. The additions reveal at least two rather unexpected strands in the thought of the readers of the compilation, the first being moralistic and sapiential, and the second, apocalyptic. This identification of sapiential and apocalyptic tendencies in the Florence codex significantly enriches available knowledge of the religious culture within the Desenzano Church.
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