Skip to content Skip to navigation

CESTA Seminar Series with Dr. Michael Penn

November 13, 2018 - 12:00pm
CESTA Seminar Series with Dr. Michael Penn

Please join us Tuesday, November 13th, in the seminar room at CESTA (Bldg. 160, Rm. 433A) from 12:00–1:00pm for the next lecture in our fall quarter CESTA Seminar Series.   

Dr. Michael Penn will present:

The Automated Scribal Identification Project: Digital Paleography and the History of Eastern Christianity


What happens when you put in the same room a professor of religious studies, a computer scientist, and an engineering major in search of a senior thesis? Then let that incubate a few years and add a professor of visual analytics, four consultants, and 29 research assistants. In this case, the result is a digital paleography project using ancient Aramaic manuscripts as a case study for exploring how recent advances in the digital analysis of handwriting can help scholars better ascertain a manuscript’s provenance, identify manuscripts written by the same scribe, and trace the chronological development of ancient scripts. Join Professor Penn to discuss this unlikely combination, its outcomes, and the larger issue of applying modern technology to pre-modern history.

About the speaker: 

Michael Penn is the Teresa Hihn Moore Professor of Religious Studies. A specialist in the history of early Christianity, Professor Penn’s research focuses on middle eastern Christians who wrote in the Aramaic dialect of Syriac. His books include: Kissing Christians, Envisioning Islam, and When Christians First Met Muslims. For these projects Professor Penn has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the ACLS, the NEH, the National Humanities Center, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, the APA, and the British Academy. Before joining Stanford, Professor Penn was for fifteen years on the faculty of Mount Holyoke College. He has also taught at Brandeis University, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, and Duke University. He has additional experience as a high school debate coach and has held research positions at Apple Computers, the Weizmann Institute, and Ames Research Center, NASA.

Event Sponsor: 

This event belongs to the following series