Within the framework of a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) a research team at Berne University headed by Prof. Dr. Michael Stolz is currently preparing a digital edition of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s ›Parzival‹. Following the concept of ‚Fassungen‘ developed by Joachim Bumke, the team members work on an edition of four versions based on complete transcriptions of all witnesses (16 medieval manuscripts, more than 70 fragments, and a print dating from 1477): *D (based on ms. D a.o.), *m (based on mss. mno a.o.), *G (based on ms. GI LM OQR Z a.o.), and *T (based on mss. TUVW a.o.). So far the books I–II, IV–VI, VIII–XVI as well as parts of book III have been edited following this method.
The new edition makes the variability in transmission and the ensuing instability of medieval texts visible. At the same time, electronic processing allows a fresh glance at the relations between the manuscripts. Here scholars can resort to stemmatological procedures derived from methods developed in evolutionary biology. Instead of creating genealogic trees this technique is based on the premise of so-called ‚unrooted trees‘ without a common origin and does without branching from an archetype. This level of abstraction can highlight relations between variants in manuscripts without determining genealogical dependencies. In collaboration with biologists and philologists at the universities of Cambridge (Great Britain) and Helsinki (Finland) these ‚unrooted trees‘ could be established for several parts of the ›Parzival‹.
Michael Stolz, Copying, Emergence and Digital Reproduction. Transferring Medieval Manuscript Culture into an Electronic Edition, in: Digital Philology and Medieval Studies in the German-speaking world, ed. Mark Chinca and Christopher Young (Cambridge UK), Baltimore 2017 (Digital Philology. A Journal of Medieval Cultures), pp. 257–287.