From The Web – The Digital Scriptorium


The Digital Scriptorium is a growing image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts that unites scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research.

As a visual catalog, DS allows scholars to verify with their own eyes cataloguing information about places and dates of origin, scripts, artists, and quality. Special emphasis is placed on the touchstone materials: manuscripts signed and dated by their scribes. DS records manuscripts that traditionally would have been unlikely candidates for reproduction. It fosters public viewing of materials otherwise available only within libraries. Because it is web-based, it encourages interaction between the knowledge of scholars and the holdings of libraries to build a reciprocal flow of information. Digital Scriptorium looks to the needs of a very diverse community of medievalists, classicists, musicologists, paleographers, diplomatists and art historians. At the same time Digital Scriptorium recognizes the limited resources of libraries; it bridges the gap between needs and resources by means of extensive rather than intensive cataloguing, often based on legacy data, and sample imaging.

Digital Scriptorium institutional partners have instituted a governance structure to plan jointly for the future of the program, in terms of scope, sustainability, and content.

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Dutch Wonderland!

Rembrandt by Ingrid Bouws

Rembrandt van Rhijn

Tolerance ranks high among the markers of being Dutch. In paint­ings of Rembrandt van Rijn one can possibly see that he was liberal and tolerant (Hoekveld-Meijer). Many scholars and politicians main­tain that the Netherlands has a tradition of tolerance that harkens back to the 17th Century, generated by the Dutch tradesman spirit.

‘It’s a misconception that the Dutch are essentially racist and that they discriminate’ (Derksen, 2005, 38; italics mine -ldj). Paul Scheffer, who coined the concept of ‘a multicultural drama’ in the Netherlands, up­holds his confidence in the Dutch: ‘Most people have essentially noth­ing against the presence of immigrants, and they want to live peace­fully with them (Hooven, 2006, 112; italics mine -ldj). These reassurances of the Dutch being essentially good people may be an indication that nowadays the Dutch tend to behave differently than in the immigrant era of the 17th Century, suggesting that the Dutch have temporarily wandered off from the correct Dutch course. This Golden Century, as it is called in the Netherlands, still serves as a rich source for Dutch identity construction. Read more

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From The Web – Longreads – The Best Long-Form Stories On The Web

LongReadsLongreads are changing the way people read online.

They’re stories that are best enjoyed away from your desk — whether it’s on a daily commute, an airplane, a subway, or your couch. It’s in-depth stories, perfect for the iPad, iPhone or Kindle, and apps like Read It Later, Flipboard and Instapaper.

Longreads posts links to new stories every day — they include long-form journalism, magazine stories from your favorite publications (The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic), short stories, interview transcripts, and even historical documents. (For the record: Longreads are typically more than 1,500 words.)

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The Consolation of Philosophy: Hannah Arendt and the Green Movement

What does it mean to say that one needs to act? In The Human Condition Hannah Arendt insists that we should always distinguish “making” from “acting” when reflecting on the liberating potential of movements such as the Green Movement. Should people make the changes that they desire, or do they act to realize them?
Connected to Arendt’s thought-trains on making and acting is also a separation of “violence” from “power.” What is the meaning of these concepts and what are the differences?
A concrete answer to these timeless questions has been offered by the Green Movement’s chanting, a source of inspiration for the world, and given the geopolitical role of Iran, a tremendously important experiment in democracy, not initiated by an outside force but by men and women themselves acting in concert. The Green Movement has emerged independently, although of course, Iran’s people are also inspired by Western values. Above all, we must humble ourselves before the courage and perseverance of the Iranian protesters. As friends we can request good deeds, as Ibn Sina once suggested, with kindness characterized by advice and not with violence characterized by pointing out disgrace (Isharat va Tanbihat, vol. 4, ninth class, Ch. 23). The Green Movement has many such friends who are with them in spirit. One of these is the political philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a German-Jewish thinker who survived World War II and spent a lifetime thinking about action in the face of violence. Her work can be a source of inspiration, a beacon of light, for men and women living in dark times.

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Unangetaster Blick – Unverfalschte Sicht

Für Europäer gibt es viele Arten, den südlich der Sahara gelegenen Teil Afrikas zu betrachten. Die erste und meist unmittelbare, ist die des tragischen Afrikas, die uns dauernd über die Medien erreicht.
Ob wir wollen oder nicht, die Bilder bleiben in unserer Erinnerung haften: die verkohlten Holzrahmen der Kirche von Eldoret, in der bei Aufständen nach Wahlen in Kenia dreihundert Menschen verbrannten; die Zeltlager voll weinender Kinder im weiten, trockenen Flachland von Darfour; Charles Taylors unbewegte Gesichtszüge während seines Prozesses in Liberia, konfrontiert mit den erschütternden Zeugnissen seiner eigenen Grausamkeiten; das Grinsen des südafrikanischen Präsidenten Zuma, angeklagt wegen Korruption; und auch die Verbissenheit der letzten weißen Bauern, die sich mit ihren schwarzen Angestellten gegen die Willkür Mugabes bewaffnen – und dies alles sind lediglich Ereignisse der letzten paar Monate. Hört es denn nie auf?

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God wil het! – I – Reizen in het spoor van de kruisvaarders

Na het uiteenvallen van het rijk van Karel de Grote in de tweede helft van de negende eeuw werden Frankrijk en Duitsland van elkaar gescheiden. Grote delen van Europa werden geteisterd door de Noormannen, die landerijen, kerken en kloosters plunderden en daarbij weinig tegenstand ontmoetten.
Binnen de katholieke Kerk was de situatie bedroevend. Pausen waren in een onderlinge strijd verwikkeld en veel geestelijken waren minstens zo intensief bezig met wereldlijke als met kerkelijke zaken. Het celibaat werd nog niet uitgevoerd en pelgrims die uit Rome terug kwamen klaagden steen en been over de wanorde en zedeloosheid die ze aantroffen onder de geestelijken. De gewone middeleeuwer leefde onder de dagelijkse dreiging van ziekte en geweld en halverwege de elfde eeuw brak door misoogsten een enorme hongersnood uit, waardoor de mensen bij massa’s stierven en elkaar – volgens kronieken – zelfs ‘verscheurden en opaten’. Velen zochten naar een mogelijkheid om in verre streken een nieuw leven te beginnen.

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