The Influence of Source Material in Peter Comestor’s Historia Scholastica. Fall 2014.

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Karen Wadley


Using photographic facsimiles, our team translated “De Susanna,” a chapter of Peter Comestor’s Historia Scholastica, a fifteenth century incunabulum in Boise State University’s Albertson's Library. “De Susanna” contains 138 lines of text from the Apocrypha of Daniel. By transcribing and translating the text on our own and discussing and critiquing our work, we produced a clear and accurate interpretation of the text. Aside from consulting the original text, we accessed the Patrologia Latinae 198 and The Elements of Abbreviation in Medieval Latin Paleography to clarify transcription, syntax, and style.

We finished work on “De Susanna” in December 2014. In his description of the succession of the Persian Imperial line, Comestor used archaic and unclear descriptive methods, leaving the proper line indiscernible without further research. We consulted primary sources likely available to Comestor and cross-referenced them with each other, establishing that external sources were highly influential in Comestor’s work.

In February 2015, we began transcribing and translating the story of “De Idolo Belis et Draconis,” which was mentioned in one of Comestor’s comments in the Susanna text as a point of clarification.

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