Schrift im Wandel - Wandel durch Schrift
, M. Ostermann
, O. Plessow
, G. Tscherpel (eds.)
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Marshall McLuhan described the so-called
Gutenberg-Galaxy - a culture based on books, which in his opinion would
come to an end due to the electronic media at the end of the 20th
century - but it first emerged in Europe during the 12th to 15th
centuries. Even before the invention of the printing press the written
text became essential both for the intellectual development and the
everyday activities of people. In various different fields and regions,
the Sonderforschungsbereich 231 at Münster, has analysed these
processes. The results of this work have gained an international
reputation. SFB 231 'Pragmatic Literacy in the Middle Ages'
completed its 13-year programme of research in December 1999. During
this period 15 different workgroups (historians, theologians,
philologists [Latin, German and English]) have analysed the changes
taking place from a society based almost exclusively on oral
communication to a culture which relies decisively on the written word.
The European-wide phenomenon is examined mainly for Germany, Italy, the
Low Countries, England and France. The written letter replaced the
herald, and letters were not only exchanged between clerics and other
'literati', but also between merchants and their business
partners and wives. What used to be an oral agreement between two men,
witnessed by their relatives and friends, now became a notarial
document. Property disputes were no longer decided by asking a council
of elders but by consulting the newly established communal archives.
The aim is to use the opportunities offered by this new medium to
explain for each of the examples given, within seven or nine minutes,
the complex findings of the SFB's research. An electronic medium is
appropriate because it offers the possibility of combining pictures,
graphs, charts, texts and verbal explanations. Sixteen different genres
or milieux are demonstrated on this CD-ROM: (1) Bible Translation (2)