Section 1: How Hypotheses about the evidence lead to Theoretical Conclusions. 1.1: Evidence 1.2 Hypotheses about evidence by an investigator may be made in response to questions. Typical questions include WHAT? WHO? WHEN? WHERE? HOW? WHY? Section 2: How Hypotheses about the evidence lead to Theoretical Conclusions and vice verse.
From the perspective of an investigator, the authors are people. The subject of these authors' writings, or various mentions within their writings, may be about historical people, the name and identity of whom are of interest to the historian and are the subject of the investigator's "Who questions".
Various sub-categories of manuscript evidence may be elucidated by their physical characteristics. Evidence consistent of writing on stone, clay, metal and other materials is generally treated under the heading of epigraphy or inscriptions (below).
Material: From before 2000 BCE Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt. Papyrus scrolls are attested in ancient Egypt. From the 1st century BCE the use of parchment, as a rival writing surface, and prepared from animal skins, is attested. This material was more durable, especially in moister climates, but more expensive to prepare. From c.105 CE in Chine, the invention of paper gradually replaced the Chineses us of bamboo. Paper not used in a widespread sense in Europe until the 8th century when it started to be used in the Islamic empire.
Technology: Scrolls made from papyrus or vellum gradually gave way to the invention of the codex, or bound book, the earliest mention by Martial in the fiest century CE. However it was not until the 4th century that the codex (using papyrus, or vellum) became very popular. The printing revolution of the 15th century, using paper, automated the hand manufacture of books, and this process continues today. With the use of electonic media, some books are now manufactured literally from electons and electromagnetic storage.
Manuscript Names: A physical manuscript is often referred to by a name. Examples of codices in the Greek language are Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus. Examples of names of papyri fragments are P.Oxy.3035 (an abbreviated name for Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3035.
Language & Script of Composition: The manuscripts can be prepared in many languages. Examples from antiquity include Greek, Latin, Coptic, Manichaean and Syriac. Various writing styles or scripts are also able to be recognised and identified in order to be more precise about the ms. Some mss are illustrated also, for example.
Copies of Manuscripts: Since manuscripts eventually deteriorated, or there was demand for further copies, manuscripts were often copied in order to preserve the original. This introduces the various relationships between manuscripts that may exist. When a copy of an already existing manuscript is discovered, then it represents a new evidence item that enjoys a specific relationship to an older existing manuscript - "a copy of MS". The converse relationship "copied in MS" relates the new to the old.
Translations of Manuscripts: Some manuscripts have been translated into many different languages. A manuscript which is not just a copy, but a translation to another language, will have the relationship "translated from", and conversely "translated to" is this same realtionship from the perspective of the original (which may have been a copy).
Earliest Surviving Manuscripts: Most original manuscripts from antiquity do not survive for various reasons. It is often very important to be aware of the date of earliest surviving physical manuscript, is in fact a copy of the original, perhaps many times removed from it by each copy. The earliest surviving ms may not in fact be in the same source language, but a translation thereof.
Evidence of historical authors and other people, evidence of physical manuscripts and the evidende of statements bound therein constitute Part (1) - The Literature Tradition, of the sources of evidence.
The general form of the words or statements within any one manuscript can be conceptualised in the series of W1, W2, W3 ... Wn (words) or (S1, S2, S3 ... Sn) statements or verses. Statements found in books can be identified, treated and examined as separate items of evidence to be related to other items of evidence already registered or under examination.
The entire (growing) collection of evidence can be viewed from many different perspectives. From a flat perspective, we can just see a list of Evidence items: E1, E2, E3, ... En. In some cases an evidence item will represent a person to be identified a by name (i.e. Names: N1, N2, N3, .... Nn) and which may or may not ultimately be associated with an historical identity. In other cases an evidence item will represent a Manuscript: M1, M2, M3, ... Mn. And in other cases an evidence item will be a finite and specific subset of the words and statements to be found in the ms: Words/Statements: W1, W2, W3, ... Wn.
(2) For each evidence item
hypotheses are formulated;
P1, P2, P3, ..., Pn
(3) General hypotheses are added
GP1, GP2, GP3, ..., GPn
(4) All hypotheses become INPUT
to the "Black Box" of the Theory Generator
(5) Theoretical Conclusions are OUTPUT
C1, C2, C3, ..., Cn