6.0130 Rs: Index (2/70)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 13 Jul 1992 16:46:09 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0130. Monday, 13 Jul 1992.

(1) Date: Fri, 10 Jul 92 18:43:12 CST (29 lines)
From: (James Marchand) <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: index

(2) Date: 10 Jul 92 16:46:40 EST (41 lines)
Subject: 6.0126

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 92 18:43:12 CST
From: (James Marchand) <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: index

First, let me be frank. You are not going to find an answer to this ques-
tion. People began organizing and indexing as soon as they began collecting.
Go back as far as you want, and you will find massoretic comments, scholia,
layout, etc., all indexing devices. So, it's going to depend on what you
mean by index. A very nice, well-written article on twelfth-century de-
vices, but with footnotes leading further back:
Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, "_Statim invenire_: Schools, Preachers,
and New Attitudes to the Page," _Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth
Century_, ed. Robert L. Benson and Giles Constable, with Carol D. Lanham
(UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1982), 201-228.

A grand list of Greek indices (mostly modern): Harald and Blenda Riesen-
feld, Repertorium lexicographicum Graecum (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell,

Ditto for Latin: Henri Quellet, Bibliographia indicum, lexicorum et con-
cordantiarum auctorum Latinorum. Universite de Neuchatel. Faculte des
Lettres, 1980.

Searchability or finding devices might be better concepts to use. It is
interesting how alphabetization developed slowly as a finding and organ-
izing device, cf. Lloyd W. Daly, Contributions to a History of Alphabeti-
zation in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Collection Latomus 90 (Brussels,
1967). Page layout is a great finding device used quite early.
Jim Marchand
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------51----
Date: 10 Jul 92 16:46:40 EST
Subject: 6.0126 Rs: Indexes (4/57)

See also Richard and Mary Rouse, *Authentic Witnesses* (Notre Dame, 1991),
collecting their stellar articles over the years on the development of hte
medieval book, with special emphasis on the emergence before the time of print
of things like indexes, concordances, running headers, and the like. There is
also a fine book by H.-J. Martin and one other author called *Mise en Page et
Mise en Texte*, which is full of examples of how medieval scribes used page
layout wittingly to their advantage.

Paul Pascal rightly points to Isidore of Seville for an index so-named. What
would we make, though, of the `breviculus' of contents that Augustine wrote
for his *City of God*? Roughly an outline in order of appearance of topics
discussed, probably keyed in the original manuscript to marginal numbers.
These headings may be seen in modern translation sof City of God as `chapter
titles', that is, the original breviculus was broken up in the middle ages and
the topic indicators distributed throughout the work in the appropriate or
almost appropriate places. Eugippius of Npales in the mid-sixth century was
also fond of doing this sort of thing, to make access easier.

There is a deeper point here, one I just made in a conference paper to be
published next year, that the codex page (i.e., the rectangular sheet bound in
quires sand signatures and the like: as opposed to the scroll that preceded it
in general use) is a form that facilitates various kinds of non-linear access
to information. Though we do not now believe that this utility caused or
encouraged the adoption of the codex form (see Roberts and Skeat, *The Birth
of the Codex*), it is certain that the whole history of the codex page from
earliest centuries of the common era to the present is a history of people
finding ways to get better and better non-linear access to information (i.e.,
without having to start at page one and read every word until you find what
you want), and that what we are doing with computers is in the first instance
just a replication of that enterprise on a much larger scale made possible by
electronic storage and retrieval. This is to suggest that in fact all these
tools for non-linear access that we are so busily developing are not in fact
cutting edge, technology-sensitive revolutionary developments, but timid first
steps toward something else we haven't even begun to imagine properly yet.

Jim O'Donnell
Classics, U. of Penn.