Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Seventh Candle

I will be lazy with this one, referring to this article (en français) about the librarian of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Michel Garel (its expert on the collection of Hebraica), who sold unique medieval manuscripts of the Pentateuch and other biblical books, part of a black market in handwritten documents.
Bien sûr, le marché des manuscrits et autographes (c'est-à-dire de tous les documents écrits ou signés de la main d'une personne) ne se réduit pas à ces transactions spectaculaires. Très loin derrière les étoiles les plus brillantes, toute une constellation de documents moins saisissants se négocient ou s'échangent, dans les salles des ventes, les boutiques des marchands ou même sur Internet. Saisis par une fringale de vieux papiers, les collectionneurs se précipitent sur des manuscrits complets, mais aussi, quand leur bourse n'y suffit pas, sur des pièces de moindre envergure : des lettres, des brouillons ou des extraits de journaux intimes qui peuvent allier la valeur marchande au pouvoir d'attraction très particulier des autographes.

3 Comments:

At 4:02 PM, Blogger zid said...

Dear friends,
Don't forget that, according to french law, someone prosecuted is known as innocent until some proofs are brought into light to convince him of criminal acts. It's the case here, even if the newspaper doesn't say it very well: the trial has not even began, Michel Garel is always considered als innocent by his numerous colleagues, no real proofs are known by now.
Anyway, you're right: huge amounts of documents disappear from archives and libraries. Often single sheets of papers or charters.
These documents are sold to interested people.
May I do a praise to you, dear colleagues historians: do not buy any piece of paper or parchment, even a little one, even if the man who solds it seems to be honest. In Kalamazoo or Leeds congresses, in some nice european booksellers too, I've seen people coming to sell manuscripts or parts of manuscripts. To my advice, it should be forbidden: it's nothing but some "encouragement" to thiefts and destructions of ancient documents.
Zid, from http://www.20six.fr/blitztoire

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger chlgeorge said...

By the way. Do kids get presents at Hanukah? Just curious because I never learnt about it at school.

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

In the US, gifts are given in much the same manner as for Christmas--except usually one gift for each of the days. That is not to say that gift-giving is foreign to Jewish practice, but they were given in the context of learning theology: students were given books.

 

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