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Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries (British History)
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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It's about time someone wrote a searing expose of Christopher de Hamel and the whole Manuscript Industrial Complex...

https://twitter.com/incunabula/status/1343486269448454144

Incunabula has 27.6 thousand followers on Twitter. This tweet received 19 'likes' and endorsed by one follower, 'Mr Murphy'

For too long have we lived in the world that Big Manuscript has created- I for one am glad that the truth is finally out!

It's the first time I think that anyone has recommended the Forgeries book. It's a terrific boost at the end of a dire year.
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Hatty
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The 'Diamond Sutra' is, according to the British Library and therefore the world, "the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book."

A copy of the Tang-dynasty Chinese version of the Diamond Sūtra was found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in 1900 by Daoist monk Wang Yuanlu and sold to Aurel Stein in 1907. They are dated back to 11 May 868

No-one has explained how it survived, apparently unknown, for over a millennium nor managed to find the original text. However it has a universalist message, right up Wiki's street

It is also the first known creative work with an explicit public domain dedication, as its colophon at the end states that it was created "for universal free distribution."

The copied scroll was part of a manuscript hoard from a cave in Dunhuang, a city on the Silk Road, written in a variety of languages including Sanskrit, Old Tibetan and 'Old Turkic' (7th to 13th century)

The Dunhuang manuscripts are a cache of important religious and secular documents discovered in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, China, in the early 20th century. Dating from late 4th to early 11th centuries, the manuscripts include works ranging from history and mathematics to folk songs and dance.

The Dunhuang manuscripts were kept in a cave, the so-called Library Cave, walled off sometime early in the 11th century.

The manuscripts filled seventeen caves and provenance can only be guessed at. Scholars have been given access but no mention of scientific dating, which would be a huge undertaking given the scale and the profusion of palimpsests

Many of these manuscripts survived only because they formed a type of palimpsest whereby papers were reused and Buddhist texts were written on the opposite side of the paper.

The monk who guarded the caves, Wang Yuanlu, sold a large number of the manuscripts to two archaeological explorers, Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot, who sold them on to the Bibliothèque Nationale and the British Library whose curators have estimated the dates to be between the eighth and ninth centuries.. How printing is supposed to have been invented 8th-9th century but remained unknown for centuries remains unanswered.
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