14 January 2011

monk-scribery vs. printing press

One of the web comics I read regularly is Wondermark, and its creator David Malki has written an interesting blogpost. Fifteenth-century abbot Johannes Trithemius wrote a tract called De laude scriptorum manualium — “In Praise of Scribes.” Trithemius was "a lexicographer who was also deeply interested in cryptography and steganography" -- probably a conlanger too, I would wager.

Trithemius wrote in praise of hand-copying scriptures and holy texts rather than mass producing them with printing presses. Malki's commentary and the responses from his readers are worth a look.

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