The differences in the print of the old books confirm that proof-reading was a common practice when printing Lithuanian books in the 16th century already. The differences can be classified into technical and proofing-related. The former occurred due to typographical actions or materials, the latter were caused by corrective proofing. They allow reconstructing the course of the printing processes and suggest that the presswork would not be ceased after the press proof was taken. While corrector was at work, certain copies of sheets would be printed and the unrevised sheets would later be bound rather than destroyed. They would end up in different copies, resulting in slight differences of print between some of them. Later on, any mistakes that were noticed would be included and printed in a list of errata. There were no lists of errata in the very first Lithuanian books. The oldest 16th century issue with clear evidence of revision was Evangelijos bei Epistolos (1579) by Baltramiejus Vilentas, with corrections made by pasting bits of paper on top of printed words with errors. The first Lithuanian book that had the list of errata was Postilė (1591) by Jonas Bretkūnas, which was printed at the same printing house of Georg Osterberger. Bretkūnas’s Postilė possesses a number of proofing differences in the print that show, with an almost absolute degree of accuracy, whether the printer’s sheet was printed before, or after proofing. A comparison of some of the differences present in the copies (accounting for a fraction of all copies known to exist) allows making a cautious statement that the unrevised sheets had been printed in a smaller number.
Some major differences between copies might have been caused by the printer’s decisions or could have occurred as a result of changing a part of the run to fit the target audience. The last half-sheet signature of the Lithuanian grammar in German (1654) by Daniel Klein was composed twice, allowing a more efficient use of the press and cutting of the printing time by half. The forewords to Klein’s hymnal were removed from some of the copies by the printer (1667). The forewords to the 1701 New Testament were removed to accommodate the target audience. To distribute the remaining run of Konstantinas Sirvydas’s postil (1629), the forewords of the first part were reprinted when publishing the second part of the book in 1664. The proofing differences in the print of the books by Bretkūnas, Sirvydas, Klein, and others were discovered by accident. After the second copy of the first issue of Suma Evangelijų, a postil from Knyga Nobažnystės was identified in Krakow, it was carefully compared to the copy that had been known to exist in Uppsala. Computer algorithms aided to discover four proofing differences, all of them in the headings of chapters. The Krakow copy contained printing errors (mixed-up order of words, mistakes in references to the Bible), which had been corrected in the Uppsala copy; still several headings had errors in both copies. One thing that the proofing revisions have in common is that they have to do with references to the Gospel of John. The postil was prepared by two translators. The distribution of variance of the references in the other parts of Knyga Nobažnystės and the proofing revisions thereof suggest that the translator of the middle part of the postil made the corrections of the part he had translated or that it was revised by the printing house’s proof-reader based on the translator’s manuscript.
This article presents a dedication written in Lithuanian, that until recently was unknown, as well as additional information about its author and the circumstances of its writing. The poem of Johann Christian Dicelius from 1690, published together with Johann Christoph Taubert’s Master’s thesis, is the second known Lithuanian dedication created for the occasion of receiving a scholarly degree. Seven copies of the publication are known, and all of them are held outside of Lithuania. The exact date of Dicelius’s birth is not known, but he was born around 1670 into the family of Ernest Dicelius, a priest in Valtarkiemis (Walterkehmen), known for composing and translating Lithuanian hymns. In 1690 he began studies in Law at the University of Jena. After his studies, from 1695 he worked at the Vėluva (Wehlau) school until 1700 when he left his post as the school’s co-rector to return to Valtarkiemis where he lived with his mother until his death in 1706.
From the 16th–17th century at least seven students from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and 25 from Lithuania Minor studied at the University of Jena. One of them—a fellow countryman from Klaipėda, Taubert—is the recipient of Dicelius’s congratulatory note written in Lithuanian. Dicelius’s mastery of the Lithuanian language and writing skills raise no doubts. The expected orthography of Lithuania Minor is used, but it is slightly altered due to the fact that the publishing house did not have the technical possibilities to produce Lithuanian script. Dicelius’s language is characterized by the typical mixing of the phonemes /ė/ and /ie/; for a more fluid rhyme or for the sake of a formal style he used the rare occasional derivative šviesimas ‘enlightening’ and the long athematic forms of the verbs plėšti ‘to rip’ and rėžti ‘to carve’.
The abundance of Bible citations in old Lithuanian writings makes it difficult to study their relationships. A user-friendly data platform is required to allow the Bible lines to be grouped according to the characteristics interesting to the researcher. The assessment of similarity of citations is the most problematic. An integrated analysis of vocabulary, syntax, and morphology (and in some cases—spelling) allows it, but this kind of philological research is slow and currently impossible to automate. We succeeded in automating the comparison with a cyclic algorithm. The task of the algorithm is to detect identical compounds in two character sequences and to calculate which part of the compared sequences they cover. The effect of the algorithm and the calculated percentages are mainly determined by the length of the lines, the shortest sequence allowed to be compared, and the transliteration accuracy. Different lengths of the lines (a biblical line can be quoted as a fragment that is comparable to the full line) require the consideration of the chronology of the sources and the selection of corresponding comparative calculation parameters. The most optimal shortest comparable character sequence was determined experimentally. The automation of the comparison is hindered by the ambiguous orthography of old writings. It is levelled by the rules of transliteration, the application of which is differentiated according to the most important consistent spelling characteristics of each author. After evaluating the manually and automatically transliterated lines, it was determined that the transliteration method did not have any significant effect on the results. The results can be controversial when comparing the texts written in different dialects (the levelling of
dialectical features was not tested). The obtained similarity results are summarized in two-dimensional diagrams. The data can be sorted according to the chronology of the sources, according to the similarity average, according to the number of compared lines, according to the sequence of the lines in the source, according to the similarity of individual lines, according to the similarity of two lines in two sources, etc.
The results obtained after the software analysis of Bretkūnas Postilė (1591) biblical line comparison are in line with the conclusions reached by the previous researchers that applied different methods. The comparison does not include and cannot assess the influence of translation sources. Automatic calculations do not prove per se the interception of the lines. The percentages of similarity are not absolute; they vary depending on the selected calculation parameters. The most important outcome of the work is considered the tool designed to demonstrate the relative relationship between the sources or their parts, which opens up the opportunities for further, more detailed research.