Penn Ph.D student Alex Devine has been a regular at meetings of the Manuscript Collective. As organizer of the Penn Palaeography Group, he leads a monthly gathering of graduate students that share about current research, discuss new texts acquired by the Kislak Center, and work together on transcriptions.
After attending meetings of the Manuscript Collective, he generously invited the Penn Manuscript Collective to join the Paleography Group’s holiday party. Plenty of food and drink were on hand as the group read through medieval manuscripts of carols and Christmas recipes.
We began with a reading of “Now ys the tyme of crystymas” from a 16th century commonplace book (find the entire book here). This jaunty rhyme calls for a festive celebration—those who can bring no sport to the hall should be sent to the stocks!Next, we read through ‘Adam lay ybounden’ from a 15th-centrury British Library Manuscript, a favorite carol of Alex’s.
The evening finished with the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke: we had Penn’s own Wycliffite New Testament (MS Codex 201) on hand and read through the story sentence by sentence.
As we read through the story, we were pleasantly surprised to find a marginal addition in the left-hand column next to the shepherds’ arrival at the stable and the resulting appearance the angelic host. As the angels are praising God, a reader has marked the passage simply ‘in excelcis.’
A warm thanks to Alex Devine and the Penn Paleography Group for their hospitality and good cheer! Happy New Year!