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“Manuscripts at the Foundations of Modern Law: Multispectral Imaging, Artificial Intelligence and the Recovery of Gaius’s Institutes and the oldest Koran”

Gregory Heyworth, University of Rochester

April 20, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity

The modern legal system rests on several pillars of legal thought. Gaius’s Institutes, the only surviving record of Roman law, is taught at universities across the world. Unfortunately, the only manuscript of it is a severely damaged palimpsest. In the Islamic tradition, the Quran serves as the legal template. The oldest Quran, however, has scratch-outs and changes in key passages whose undertext, recoverable with technology, holds the potential to upend historical precedent. With detailed new images, this lecture, considers the history and future of both manuscripts. It concludes with a discussion of the role of AI in textual recovery.

Co-sponsored by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

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