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“Pieces of Old Clothing or Even Viler Things”: The Utilization of Paper in Jewish and Christian Books in Medieval Italy and Iberia, a Quantitative Approach

  • Author(s): Geller, Stephanie
  • Advisor(s): Pearlstein, Ellen
  • et al.

Culture is often proposed as a determinant factor in the decision to use paper as a material support for medieval manuscripts. Specifically, scholars frequently assert that European Jews were more willing to adopt paper as a support than Christians. However, the scholarly field has yet to consider an exhaustive quantitative comparison to support this claim. This study utilizes a quantitative codicological method to infer whether paper usage was truly influenced by cultural factors in Medieval Italy and Iberia. In so doing, this paper also evaluates the extent to which quantitative research can be done using digital resources from cultural institutions with holdings relevant to the geographic and temporal areas of interest to this research. Finally, the data gathered is compared to two online databases of medieval manuscripts to extrapolate the accuracy of the results.

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