Herman GEERTMAN , Atti del colloquio internazionale Il Liber Pontificalis e la storia materiale, Roma, 21–22 febbraio 2002. Mededelingen van het Nederlands Instituut te Rome/Papers of the Netherlands Institute in Rome, 60–61 [Book Review]

Byzantinische Zeitschrift 99 (1):234-237 (2006)
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In his introduction to this extraordinarily important and useful volume, Herman Geertman points out that the editions of the Liber Pontificalis produced around a century ago by Theodor Mommsen and Louis Duchesne made the Liber more an instrument, than an object, of research. For some years an international group of scholars under the leadership of Girolamo Arnaldi, François Bougard, Paolo Delogu, and G. himself, have been conducting a collaborative project on “The Liber Pontificalis as Source for the History and Material Culture of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: A Collective Research Project on the Biographies from 314 to 891.” This book arises out of that project. But the present study, reflecting in particular G.'s interests, does not confine itself to “history” and “material culture.” Although the volume contains many valuable contributions on these important subjects, it also emphasizes the nature of the text of the Liber Pontificalis, the intentions of its redactors, and the accessibility of the text in terms of its language, contents, and conceptual underpinnings. G. notes that the project and the book also attempt a systematic updating of Duchesne's historical and archaeological material. The volume under review contains excellent papers that do indeed update DUCHESNE, but it cannot be said that this volume is “systematic” if by that word one understands comprehensive and exhaustive. I am not, be it emphasized, criticizing G. and his collaborators for failing to accomplish the impossible. It is important to say, however, that G.'s approach makes the Liber Pontificalis once again an object as well as an instrument of research.



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