Publication on 'Books Known Only by Title: Exploring the Gendered Structures of First Millennium Imagined Libraries'
The first publication from the CAS project "Books Known Only by Title: Exploring the Gendered Structures of First Millennium Imagined Libraries" led by professors Liv Ingeborg Lied and Marianne Kartzow Bjelland in 2020/2021, has been released.
The first publication from the CAS project Books Known Only by Title: Exploring the Gendered Structures of First Millennium Imagined Libraries led by professors Liv Ingeborg Lied from the Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (MF) and Marianne Kartzow Bjelland from the University of Oslo in 2020/2021, has been released in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha.
The project, which aimed to shed light on a previously unexplored aspect of literature, delved into books that exist solely as named entities without surviving as complete manuscripts or substantial excerpts. These books are known only through references
in other writings, making them a captivating yet enigmatic area of study.
By drawing on theoretical perspectives from Book History and Gender Studies, the CAS project intended to map the occurrences of books known only by title associated with female figures across various traditions, from Qumran to the Qur'an. The researchers aimed to analyze the gendered patterns in the imagination of these books and shed light on their rhetorical, literary, and potential social functions. Additionally, the project sought to contribute to the broader knowledge and theoretical development of the gendered dynamics of postulated books, challenging existing assumptions about first-millennium literary culture.
By considering named books in book lists and literary works as significant in their own right, the essay encourages a shift in perspective. It calls for a reevaluation of the academic imagination of the first-millennium library, which has traditionally prioritized extant texts and physical handling of books. Instead, the essay proposes a broader conception of books that encompasses their imagined and talked-about aspects. It raises questions about the presence of books known only by title in different literary contexts, their generative role in literary imagination, and their relation to power structures and discourses of loss. The goal of this special issue is to explore the diverse ontological and epistemological status of these books and recognize their meaningful place in the imagination of first-millennium literature.
The publication aims to introduce this fascinating concept as a new avenue of research within the realm of first-millennium Jewish and Christian literatures. The introductory essay in the publication provides a conceptual and methodological framework for understanding this unexplored phenomenon and presents an initial overview of the key functions of books known only by title in book lists and literary texts.
We congratulate former CAS group leaders Liv Ingeborg and Marianne on their publication!