Manuscript Chop Shop

Heheh, unfortunately I realize that the first post here will not be Aramaic-related, but similar things have happened to Syriac manuscripts on Ebay a while back.

UPDATE: Since I've written this, the company has replied to me... and it was ugly.

Can you believe that people actually buy beautiful old manuscripts only to cut them up and sell the parts on the net? This really pisses me off.

Great Site is one such company, that sells (of all things) individual leaves from 1611 King James Bible prints with "certificates of authenticity":

Frankly, as a digital librarian, this makes me want to cry ("It belongs in a museum!".. or would that be a library?). The 1611 KJV was one of the most beautiful editions of the Bible ever created, with gorgeous gothic script, and intricately carved woodcuttings... that this company wishes to sell at up to $7,500 a slice.

I've written the following email to the site's owner, and I'd love it if others would do the same. (NOTE: Your subject line must start with "[ATTEN: GREATSITE]" to arrive safely.)

Subject: [ATTEN: GREATSITE] Appalled by selling individual leaves of the KJV

To whom it may concern,

My problem with your company does not come from religious fervor, but from the fervor of a librarian. Cutting up old manuscripts is an appalling practice, and I had hoped that such a thing had died out. Yet when I was doing some research I happened upon your website and was immediately -disgusted- that you are chopping up old manuscripts and selling them piecemeal on the internet.

This shows absolutely no respect for the texts themselves, and I would have the same disgust if you were chopping up ancient copies of the Qur`an, Baghva Gita, Edas, works of Plato, old shopping lists or any other text from antiquity. This work is important as a unified whole as a piece of our history, not served up slice by slice. The artwork and aesthetics can be enjoyed just as much in facsimile form, which would allow the original book to remain intact and with all of its pages.

If you do not stop selling pieces of this book or any other old books you may have in your possession immediately, I will be spreading work of your business practice to the members of the American Library Association (ALA), some of whom may take further steps towards stopping this egregious mistake.

Steve Caruso

"Chief Executive Artisan," Aramaic Designs