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Re: Codex Vaticanus - Pericope De Adultera page: Photo?

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  • Roger Pearse
    ... Indeed so. This is why manuscripts remain the province of either the wealthy collector, or the state. ... Most museums that I come across are funded
    Message 1 of 41 , Apr 21, 2006
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      --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:
      > Roger Pearse wrote:
      > > Sitting on manuscripts and preventing
      > > anyone but a tiny handful of professionals seeing them
      > > is unethical by this standard, surely? (Not to mention
      > > stupid, when you consider the losses of mss in the last
      > > 100 years, nearly all unphotographed).
      >
      > This is an important point isn't it? After all, isn't it
      > simply a fact that in truth only a small handfull of
      > individuals ARE interested in these artifacts? And can
      > make use of them? To others, aren't they
      > merely museum curiosities?

      Indeed so. This is why manuscripts remain the province of either
      the wealthy collector, or the state.

      > If museums didn't charge admission, how could they maintain the
      > artifacts entrusted to them?

      Most museums that I come across are funded pretty heavily by the
      poor hard-pressed taxpayer, actually.

      But frankly I think that this argument is a digression, or perhaps
      means that we are at cross-purposes. Do we really believe that
      property ownership extends as far as chopping up the heritage of
      mankind on the basis that "this is private property"? Now I am
      pretty right-wing in my politics, and the evils of interference with
      private property are plain enough to me, but I don't think that this
      right extends so far. Once we accept that the owners have certain
      duties to the community, isn't the rest of the argument moot? But
      perhaps I have misunderstood where you are coming from.

      You see, I'm not opposed to reasonable charges for things, that help
      institutions work. What I am opposed to is preventative charging
      that ensures that work isn't done, ensures no-one can see things,
      ensures that books perish. When a library declares that it will
      demand $230 to make a monochrome microfilm of an ms, which I could
      photograph for free in colour, this means that the ms is not filmed,
      and the ms is destroyed in the next civil commotion. When that same
      library declares that it will not allow any portion of that ms to
      appear online unless it is paid, this is not drawing an income: this
      is preventative charging. The library makes no money -- because
      manuscript scholars don't HAVE any money! So they just do without.
      How does that benefit the library? Or anyone?

      None of this is theory, I'm sorry to say. My own experience may be
      relevant. The British Library owns 3 medieval mss of works of
      Tertullian. I want them online. The British Library will not
      photograph them. It will not place them online. It will not permit
      me to photograph them. The most it will do is photograph them if I
      pay them $12,000 to do so (I could do it myself for nothing in a day
      and a half), and it will only permit the results to appear online if
      I pay them $800 a year for the rest of my life, and bear the hosting
      fees. Since, of course, I can't do anything of the kind, the mss
      sit on a shelf, unexamined, unseen, and waiting for Al Qaeda to blow
      the place up.

      Is that sort of thing acceptable? I suggest that in Dante's Divine
      Comedy these people -- all paid by the taxpayer to preserve in order
      to make available for study -- would end up in the lowest hell, with
      those who betrayed their trust.

      All the best,

      Roger Pearse
    • Roger Pearse
      ... Indeed so. This is why manuscripts remain the province of either the wealthy collector, or the state. ... Most museums that I come across are funded
      Message 41 of 41 , Apr 21, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:
        > Roger Pearse wrote:
        > > Sitting on manuscripts and preventing
        > > anyone but a tiny handful of professionals seeing them
        > > is unethical by this standard, surely? (Not to mention
        > > stupid, when you consider the losses of mss in the last
        > > 100 years, nearly all unphotographed).
        >
        > This is an important point isn't it? After all, isn't it
        > simply a fact that in truth only a small handfull of
        > individuals ARE interested in these artifacts? And can
        > make use of them? To others, aren't they
        > merely museum curiosities?

        Indeed so. This is why manuscripts remain the province of either
        the wealthy collector, or the state.

        > If museums didn't charge admission, how could they maintain the
        > artifacts entrusted to them?

        Most museums that I come across are funded pretty heavily by the
        poor hard-pressed taxpayer, actually.

        But frankly I think that this argument is a digression, or perhaps
        means that we are at cross-purposes. Do we really believe that
        property ownership extends as far as chopping up the heritage of
        mankind on the basis that "this is private property"? Now I am
        pretty right-wing in my politics, and the evils of interference with
        private property are plain enough to me, but I don't think that this
        right extends so far. Once we accept that the owners have certain
        duties to the community, isn't the rest of the argument moot? But
        perhaps I have misunderstood where you are coming from.

        You see, I'm not opposed to reasonable charges for things, that help
        institutions work. What I am opposed to is preventative charging
        that ensures that work isn't done, ensures no-one can see things,
        ensures that books perish. When a library declares that it will
        demand $230 to make a monochrome microfilm of an ms, which I could
        photograph for free in colour, this means that the ms is not filmed,
        and the ms is destroyed in the next civil commotion. When that same
        library declares that it will not allow any portion of that ms to
        appear online unless it is paid, this is not drawing an income: this
        is preventative charging. The library makes no money -- because
        manuscript scholars don't HAVE any money! So they just do without.
        How does that benefit the library? Or anyone?

        None of this is theory, I'm sorry to say. My own experience may be
        relevant. The British Library owns 3 medieval mss of works of
        Tertullian. I want them online. The British Library will not
        photograph them. It will not place them online. It will not permit
        me to photograph them. The most it will do is photograph them if I
        pay them $12,000 to do so (I could do it myself for nothing in a day
        and a half), and it will only permit the results to appear online if
        I pay them $800 a year for the rest of my life, and bear the hosting
        fees. Since, of course, I can't do anything of the kind, the mss
        sit on a shelf, unexamined, unseen, and waiting for Al Qaeda to blow
        the place up.

        Is that sort of thing acceptable? I suggest that in Dante's Divine
        Comedy these people -- all paid by the taxpayer to preserve in order
        to make available for study -- would end up in the lowest hell, with
        those who betrayed their trust.

        All the best,

        Roger Pearse
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