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Jaakko Frösén

Jaakko Lars Henrik Frösén
Born January 9, 1944, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1967 (Greek literature), Roman literature, psychology, general linguistics (1968), Licentiate 1969 (Greek language and literature, Latin and Roman literature) and PhD 1974, University of Helsinki

Emeritus professor 2012–, University of Helsinki
Acting professor of Greek philology 1999–2011, University of Helsinki
Senior Research Fellow and Academy Professor 1992–99 and 2006, Academy of Finland
Director of the Finnish Institute at Athens 1988–92
Acting professor of Greek language and literature 1985, University of Helsinki
Junior Academy Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow 1981–88, Academy of Finland
Research assistant in Greek language and literature 1977–81, University of Helsinki
Commissioner of the Council of Finnish Academies 1977
Acting associate professor of Classical philology 1976, University of Turku
Research assistant in Greek literature 1974–76, University of Helsinki
Lecturer in Classical philology 1971–73, University of Turku
Research assistant in Roman literature 1970, University of Helsinki
Acting lecturer in Latin 1969, University of Oulu
Part-time teaching positions at schools, universities, summer universities and colleges (Latin, Greek, Italian, sociolinguistics, Classical archaeology) 1967–

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Research themes
Greek sociolinguistic research
The conservation and publication of papyri, particularly carbonised papyri or papyrus scrolls.
The Mount Aaron archaeological excavations, Petra
Mediaeval scrips of the patriarchate of Alexandria (conservation, digitalisation and codification)
Prolegomena to a Study of the Greek Language in the First Centuries A.D. – The problem of Koiné and Atticism 1974 (doctoral dissertation)
Publication of papyrus texts in collaboration with others 1979–
Numerous articles, book reviews and publications, textbooks, audio recordings, video, radio and television programmes and exhibitions. In addition an expert guide on more than 100 trips to the eastern Mediterranean.

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Jaakko Frösén (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

The Mediaeval Library of the Patriarchate of Alexandria

The purpose of the library project of Alexandria was to save and preserve the cultural legacy of the manuscript collection of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, and then to make it available for researchers as a digitalised virtual library. The library is a remnant of the famous early Christian Library of Alexandria, and it was founded together with the first Christian congregation and church in Egypt. According to legend, the founder was Mark the Evangelist, who appears to have died as a martyr in 63 AD.

The collections of the library today consist only of c. 530 Greek and Arabic manuscripts, the oldest of which is from 952 AD, and c. 2000 rare early printed books, or incunables. Besides liturgical and theological literature, they also include texts from Ancient Greek and mediaeval Byzantine authors, for example some of the works of Aristotle and their mediaeval commentaries. In addition to books, the library was also used to store the archive of the patriarchate and other early and unpublished sources of Egyptian church history starting from the 16th century.

The digitalisation project aimed to save the manuscripts in electronic form, and to improve their preservation and accessibility. The virtual library brings the texts within the reach of scholars without them having to hunt down the physical copies.

The Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Petros VII together with Jaakko Frösén in 1999. The architect introduces the pair to the plans for the new residence and library. Photo by Tuuli Luukas.

Part of the digitalisation process is the creation of a catalogue that fulfils the latest academic requirements and the elucidation the history of the library. Throughout history, manuscripts have been temporarily evacuated or permanently gifted or otherwise moved from the library in Alexandria, often and particularly in the 17th century through Constantinople, to other collections around the world. The most famous of these texts is the Codex Alexandrinus, one of the most complete manuscripts of the Bible, which is currently in London. The digitalised virtual library is being placed in the National Library of Finland, and the intention is to save the backup copy in the new library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina).

Leading international experts on the digitalisation process of old texts and drawings were invited to a conference at the University of Helsinki in 2010. The presentations were published as a book Eikonopoiia – Digital Imaging of Ancient Textual Heritage (Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum 129, Helsinki, 2011). Thus a research project in humanities also resulted in international cooperation regarding IT applications which overcame the hurdles set by patents.

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