St. Paul’s Letters on iPad, iPhone

ru_130104_papyrusThe University of Michigan Library’s most famous papyrus, known to scholars as Papyrus 46 or P46, now is widely available in the form of an app for iPhone and iPad.

“What’s especially important is the direct experience with the ancient world,” Arthur Verhoogt, acting archivist of the library’s papyrology collection, said of the app, called PictureIt: EP. “History is nice to read about but it’s much more important to be able to touch history,” he said.

Users of the app can employ their finger to translate the Greek text into English. Annotations explain translation discrepancies and highlight errors put into the text by the original scribe.

The Greek text is continuous, with “no word division, no punctuation, no nothing,” according to Verhoogt, but the app’s English translation allowed for slight editing, such as simple punctuation.

“It requires a little bit of effort to read the translation, it’s not like you would read the newspaper,” says Verhoogt. There are also less known treasures, he adds: “This manuscript, it has the text that you know in the Bible, but there are many texts in the manuscript that didn’t make it into the Bible.”

At 17,000 fragments, the university’s papyrus collection is the largest in North America— and one of the five largest collections in the world, according to university officials. Even for Verhoogt, the new app has changed the experience of the viewing Papyrus 46. The actual letters are each individually framed, making it difficult to consider them as a whole. The app, not bound by glass frames, treats the leaves like a book.

(Source: Ann Arbor News)



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