July 02, 2004

Codex, book

A lovely way to start the holiday weekend. I've been putting the last of my books on the shelves here at Ideofact world headquarters. The Germans always seem to overrun their shelves, driving the Poles into exile and encroaching even on the Russians, but we are just talking about books here, and it's been pleasant to go through them, dust them, handle them, then find some sort of logical order for them.

I was thinking of seguing into a weird analysis made in the introduction to the Nag Hammadi Library by the work's editor, James M. Robinson, to the effect that since the thirteen odd codexes containing some 52 Gnostic texts in Coptic appear to also contain a few orthodox writings, that each book must be a compilation put together for a monk or adept to study. This rather flies in the face of the history of books -- compilations up to the Renaissance were common, but generally the texts assembled were bound together for convenience sake. The idea of a logical compilation organized according to an editorial plan, like, say, the excellent Postwar Polish Poetry edited by the great Czeslaw Milosz -- hadn't been conceived of in the Fourth Century, when the books were compiled.

I was going to write about that, but it's late and I'm tired, and I think I'll call it a night.

Posted by Ideofact at July 2, 2004 11:54 PM