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Re: Are Scrolls Books?
- To: Multiple recipients of list BOOK_ARTS-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: Are Scrolls Books?
- From: Rommel John Miller <rjmiller1095@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 22:25:41 EDT
- Message-id: <199610060226.TAA27808@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I concur...SCROLLS ARE BOOKS, as the TORAH is the Book of the People and
Nation of Israel so is it a mitzvoth to write a Torah (a sefer-Torah
actually means "book of Torah" or "scroll of Laws") for oneself.
The library at Alexandria (one of the seven wonders of Antiquity) was
comprised of a honey-comb v-shaped shelving system that held SCROLLS!
The shelving formed a diamond shape and the scrolls could be packed in
thusly, after all most scrolls of antiquity were single-axis and not
double as it the modern Torah. The Megillah (meg-ee-lah) of Esther
(megillah = "scroll") read in Synagogues in Purim is a prime example of
the single-axis scroll, rather than rolling from one axis to the next, it
just unrolls like a window blind and is rolled back when finished
reading. As the megillah is a book of historical significance, and not a
book of Laws, as is the Torah, innovative methods can be devised for
aesthetic purposes. One such practice is en-scribing the first-half of
the text onto the upper "half" of the scroll, when the first half is
written-out the scribe then inverts the scroll so that as the book
concludes it can also be rolled up, thus saving the need to restore the
scroll after the service, in this way the unfurling and re-furling of the
scroll becomes part of the service/commemoration and thus a liturgical
function. Aesthetically pleasing also. Scrolls were the original books,
and I invite anyone unfamiliar with them to ask a Rabbi to see on,
especially how each leaf (or panel) of parchment is sewn and banded to
the proceeding and antecedent panels, the stitching is very much akin to
sewing on to tapes and is worth studying if ever any of you are
I myself would like to sefer (also colloquial for the act of en-scribing)
a Torah for myself and my Temple, but I have a long way to go in learning
my Hebrew and calligraphy before I undertake such an arduous and
spiritual journey. What interests me the most however is the manner in
which the scroll is constructed, for you can see how the later Romans and
Greeks developed the codex and further how Gutenberg devised the
galley-proofs and "composition" for the first press and product. A
printed and folded sheet becomes a book when it is folded and trimmed to
produce a signature, until then it is just a sheet of paper with printing
upon it, nothing more, nothing less. Only bound can a book be considered
a book, scroll or codex, both ARE books and will forever BE books.
R. John Miller
the wannabe bookbinder who until recently went be the first name of
"Rommel" I have since decided that it isn't kosher to keep it and to
oppose Nazis on ethical grounds. My choice, and mine alone.
On Sat, 5 Oct 1996 13:34:40 -0400 Ed Hutchins <QUEERBOOKS@xxxxxxx>
>Philip said that "The term (Bookness) should not strictly speaking
>pre-codex carriers of text such as the scroll...."
>Poor scrolls. They are always getting shabby treatment when it comes
>defining and discussing books. They remind me of the hard-working
>that gets cast aside for a much-younger, trimmer model. Where would
>codexs <perhaps "codices" is a more appropriate term>
>be without scrolls??!!
>I am always surprised when people are quick to see bookness in a wide
>of book structures, even concertina books, but fail to see much of it
>scrolls. After all, a concertina book is just a scroll that has been
>instead of rolled. Do folds make the book?
>Scrolls were books, long before anyone thought about codexs. For the
>librarians in ancient Alexandria who daily took scrolls off the shelf
>then replaced them, they were books. The "books" that were chosen to
>the Bible were scrolls, not codexs. The Torah always has been and
>will be a scroll. In 350 A.D. there were 28 public libraries in Rome
>they had were scrolls. The first publisher whose name we know,
>published Cicero's books and many others as scrolls.
>There is a letter from Cicero to Atticus asking the publisher to
>mistake that the author had made before the books were sent out. Some
>problems, even the codex couldn't correct!
>The information contained in scrolls did not run the entire lengh.
>it was divided into columns or "pages". Aside from convience, whether
>are strung out the lengh of a scroll, folded back and forth into a
>concertina, or cut apart for a codex, it seems to me that they serve
>much the same purpose.
>Aside from being easier to use, what qualities of bookness does a
>that a scroll lacks?
>Some people say that a scroll is a scoll and a book is a codex. I
>is more accurate to say that a scroll is a scroll, a codex is a codex,
>they both have a lot of bookness to them.