Many texts preserved in medieval manuscripts remain unpublished. Some received early printings that are difficult to access for the modern reader due to their location and archaic presentation. The Ars edendi editorial laboratory avails itself of modern editorial techniques, including electronic formats, to make this treasure of medieval texts available to a wider audience.
At the same time, the medieval text poses particular challenges to its editor. It comes in many forms, due to its manual copying; when transmitted in many manuscripts, the choice of which tradition to represent in printed form is a difficult one. The medieval text often lacks an author: for example, liturgical poetry and commentaries remain anonymous works, while the figure of the compiler, even when known by name, takes precedence. Medieval texts are often compiled of earlier material, and the discovery and presentation of these sources at the basis of the medieval world view is an area still in need of exploration.
The Ars edendi laboratory discusses the methodological issues that arise when wrestling with the difficulties of medieval texts and manuscripts. It aims at keeping alive the skills required in transmitting this body of medieval literature to a contemporary audience: paleographical and codicological knowledge to read the manuscripts, linguistic competence in transcribing and translating the unpublished texts they contain, while stimulating research into the historical and theological frameworks in which these texts must be contextualized in order to understand their meaning.
These skills, once defined as the discipline of philology, are currently undervalued in the institutional establishments. Stockholm University can boast a well-respected tradition in editorial work, reflected in its publication series. Ars edendi is proud to continue in the footsteps of this tradition through the support of the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation that responded to the pedagogical and cultural value of our project.