Carrie Gates | October 16, 2019
Being in the right place at the right time can change everything.
For Nina Glibetić, witnessing a chance discovery changed her research focus — and the trajectory of her career.
Glibetić, an assistant professor in the Department of Theology and a faculty fellow at the Medieval Institute, was on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 2011, conducting research for her dissertation on Slavonic manuscripts when the head librarian of St. Catherine’s Monastery walked into the room to photograph some Ethiopic texts for another scholar.
As he took photos, the librarian discovered that one folio of parchment had a script that didn’t look quite like the others, and he showed it to Glibetić.
“I recognized immediately that it was Glagolitic, the oldest Slavonic alphabet,” she said. “I just happened to be there — it was a complete accident or providence — and he said, ‘Great, I can’t read it. Take this and work on it.’”
Early Glagolitic texts are extremely rare — only about 20 are left in existence. And that 11th-century folio turned out to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Glagolitic texts of the Serbian people, and one of the oldest Slavonic texts in any context.
Read more here.