International and interdisciplinary cooperation
CBM brings together many different academic disciplines: beside the NT and OT departments in universities there are departments of Byzantine Studies (departments of Classical Studies), Art History, Library Sciences and Catalography, and related Oriental Languages (Georgian, Syrian, Armenian, Coptic, Arabic, and so on). Departments of Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic Studies are also relevant for Old Testament studies.
Specialised institutions, which often operate in isolation, are also invited to collaborate with CBM.
From the very start of the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (= NWO)-funded project in 2009 [see Doc 1: NWO Proposal Free Competition], CBM contacted colleagues who work with Byzantine manuscripts and catalogues in different countries for small scale working meetings and individual consultations, in Germany (Munster: INTF, Gottingen: SU, Munich: Bayerische Akademy), Russia (St. Petersburg: University/Biblioteca Biblica), UK (Birmingham: ITSEE), Italy (Florence: University), and Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki and Mount Athos, see below). [see Doc 2: List of advisors].
Interest in East – West research backgrounds
CBM is profoundly interested in the East-West backgrounds of the approach towards Byzantine biblical manuscripts and related manuscript areas. It is interesting to see how the codices which were created in the East, were received and used (liturgically) in eastern regions through the ages and how these experiences were transmitted to the present day and reflected in Greek and Russian academia. At the same time Byzantine manuscripts found their way to the West and were used there in a rather different manner (for editions, translations and academic ends). It is clear to all who make study of these sources that there are large gaps of a quite fundamental character in our knowledge concerning the liturgical function and embedding of codices.
The Karakallou pilot project
In this context CBM has established productive contacts with monasteries on Mount Athos (Northern Greece), where the large treasuries of Byzantine manuscripts and collections of codices which were used in liturgical practice and reflect this practice are housed [see art. SR in Sacris Erudiri and CP1]. CBM has developed a special cooperation with Karakallou Monastery, which resulted in a pilot project [see Doc. 3: Karakallou Pilot Project, in English and Greek]. In this project the fundamental insight was reached that the biblical codices are profoundly liturgical, that they were used together with other groups of manuscripts and that the isolation of certain manuscript groups is not justified from the point of view of their interconnected usage in churches and monasteries.
An interdisciplinary approach is demanded to do justice to the interconnected function of the codices. Whilst setting up a large scale (universal) Catalogue, it seemed highly opportune to conduct a small-scale pilot project about all the relevant codex types that functioned (and still function) in Karakallou daily worship and which are reflected in the monastery’s library.
An additional NWO Internationalisation project
In 2010 an NWO-funded internationalisation project was set up with academic institutions in Athens [see Doc. 4: Proposal text Internationalisation] in order to develop the CBM project more intensively. This international cooperation resulted in two highly productive working meetings in Athens and finally in the installation of a Brepols Publication Plan and Series [see website tab: Publications]. The central liturgical organisation behind the Byzantine manuscripts was placed central stage with expert communications of various codex types [see Doc. 5: Programme Athens meeting]. Typikon research was discovered to be of urgent academic necessity because of the Typikon’s directive and coordinative function for the liturgical use of codices - a much neglected factor.
Greek Paleographic Institute in Athens
An interesting and important new aspect during the CBM Athens II working meeting was the hospitality by Greek Palaeographic Institute in Athens (one of the sessions took place there) and the support by its director Prof. Agamemnon Tselikas.
CBM coordination role
It became clear during the Athens working meetings that a coordination instrument is greatly needed, since scholars work in isolated specialised areas. Bridges should be built between biblical, liturgical, hagiological, homiletic and ascetical disciplines.
New CBM branch projects are being set up on this basis in different countries and academic institutions (Amsterdam, Athens, Oslo, Washington and so on).
Exploring the Mount Athos manuscript collections
It still seems highly opportune to revisit the monasteries of Mount Athos in order to explore further developments of as yet un-researched large collections of Byzantine manuscripts, kept in their original sites and libraries. This will make up part of a new CBM project.