The Electronic Ormulum: Project Description


1. Presentation of text

The planned electronic edition of the Ormulum will provide four major views of the text as preserved in, primarily, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 1 (henceforth J1), and secondarily, Lambeth Palace Library MS 783 (henceforth L783).

In view of the extensive changes that Orm carried out in his manuscript the text is presented in two different versions: the text as Orm first wrote it (with erased, deleted and overwritten passages restored), and the text as he finally left it (including additions made by Scribe C).

Both the original text and the final text are provided in a diplomatic and a critical edition.

1.1 Diplomatic edition

The diplomatic edition presents the text with the original line divisions of MS Junius 1, recording all essential features of Ormís writing, including Text passages which were later modified (deleted, erased, overwritten) are presented in different colours to indicate the kind of treatment they have undergone. Lines are numbered consecutively within each column of text in the manuscript. Pointers in the margin provide links to noteworthy features of the text and subsequent changes.

1.2 Critical edition

The critical edition of the text (original as well as final) presents the text as verse (set out as short lines). Ormís original punctuation is preserved, as is his division of the text of each homily into fits. In this way Ormís text emerges as considerably better structured than it appears in Holt 1878. Verses are numbered consecutively within the entire work, fits consecutively within each homily section (cf. section 2.2 below).

Marginal markers provide links to comments (displayed in a separate frame on the right) on text contents and structure, features of the manuscript text, and changes in the manuscript. Different colours of markers indicate what types of comment are provided for a given verse.

Each word in the edited text provides a link to the glossary, shown in the comment frame on the right-hand side of the screen. An optional concordance frame below the text frame makes it possible to call up the relevant concordance items by clicking on a key-word in the glossary. In the concordance each word appears in a one-verse context; a click on the key-word in the concordance entry scrolls the text to the line in question to show the word in its full context.

Text passages copied by van Vliet in L783 from leaves subsequently lost from J1 (cf. Ker 1940, Burchfield 1961) will be included in the critical edition, both as copied by van Vliet and reconstructed in accordance with Ormís spelling norms.

The only stacked character which is retained in the critical edition is 3h , since this is a separate grapheme which stands for //, and which contrasts with 3h /hj/.

For passages which underwent extra heavy changes at Ormís hand (such as the oferrwerrc passage), a sequence of versions will be provided tracing the successive stages in the development of the text.

Links for immediate switching between the two editions and the two text versions (original and final) will be provided. (The demo version contains only passages from different parts of the text in the diplomatic and the critical edition).

2. Text structure

2.1 Pericopes

In the critical edition, the Latin pericopes have been inserted at their proper places despite the fact that they were not added in J1 until after Ormís many changes and corrections were completed. The reason for this is that they were clearly intended for inclusion even in the original version, and that they function as important markers of text structure. In the diplomatic edition, on the other hand, they have only had space set aside for them (where appropriate) in the original text version; their subsequent inclusion (or not) in J1 is merely recorded in the comments. In the final text version those pericopes that were eventually inserted by Scribe C are represented as and where they stand in the manuscript, whether the position is correct or not.

2.2 Homily structure

The general structure of a homily in the Ormulum can be described in the following way (an asterisk marks an obligatory section):
Homily:  Introduction 

*Text A 

Text B 


*Exposition A 

Exposition B 



Each section is made up of one or more fits. The beginning of each fit is marked by Orm with a paragraphus of varying size and complexity.
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