Holy Cross Professor Co-Recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

September 9th, 2013 by Bridget Cass


Mary Ebbott, right, and a student. Image by Dan Vaillancourt

Mary Ebbott, associate professor and chair of the classics department, has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities as a co-principal investigator with project director Casey Dué Hackney, professor and director of classical studies in the department of modern and classical languages at the University of Houston. The project, titled “Editing as a Discovery Process: Accessing centuries of scholarship in one 10th century manuscript of the ‘Iliad,’ ” will create a digital edition of the oldest complete existing manuscript of the “Iliad,” known as the Venetus A that links texts to the digital images of the manuscript that the Homer Multitext has already published.

“Not only is it the oldest complete text of the ‘Iliad’ in existence, the Venetus A contains abundant writings in its margins (called scholia) that preserve the otherwise lost ancient scholarship about the poem collected in the Library of Alexandria and further elucidated by generations of scholars in antiquity. This manuscript is an unparalleled resource for the study of the ‘Iliad,’ but its contents and our methods for creating this edition will also contribute to larger questions in the humanities in general about the nature of authorship, the interaction between orality and literacy, modes of textual transmission, and the practices of scholarly editing, both historically and currently,” said Ebbott and Dué Hackney in their statement of impact for the project.

“This grant will bring to fruition many years of work by many scholars, including the information architects for the project, Christopher Blackwell of Furman University and Neel Smith of Holy Cross, and the work of many Holy Cross students who have contributed to the edition. The grant will allow us to get even more Holy Cross students involved in the Homer Multitext over the next three years. Casey and I are fortunate to have such wonderful collaborators in creating this complete digital edition of the Venetus A,” Ebbott said.

Ebbott has been a member of the Holy Cross faculty since 2001, and holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in classical philology from Harvard University. She is the co-editor of the Homer Multitext project, which is supported by Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, where she also serves as the executive editor.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant program is available at www.neh.gov.

For additional information, please contact Bridget Cass at 508-793-2419.

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