The Monastic Manuscript Project is a database of descriptions of manuscripts that contain texts relevant for the study of early medieval monasticism, especially monastic rules, ascetic treatises, vitae patrum--texts and texts related to monastic reforms. The project lists of manuscripts for each of these texts, which are linked to manuscript descriptions. The purpose is to offer a tool for reconstructing not only the manuscript dissemination of early medieval monastic texts but also to give access to the specific contexts in which a text appears. The database supports edition projects and draws attention to understudied texts and the transmission of fragments, excerpts and florilegia. It is designed to facilitate the work of students and scholars who are interested in the history and reception of texts and who want to work with manuscripts rather than rely on modern editions.
Most pages provide links to a number of web resources, such as manuscript catalogues, online texts and translations, digitized manuscripts and repertoria. Manuscript descriptions are usually based on published manuscript catalogues and secondary literature. Incomplete and inaccurate descriptions will be replaced as the manuscripts are further studied.
The Monastic Manuscript Project is conceptualized as a 'Wiki' project. Every student or scholar who works on monastic manuscripts is invited to contribute new manuscript descriptions, to fill in gaps and to submit additions and corrections to existing pages. Eventually the project will become a forum for collaborative work and the presentation of new research.