The Centre for the Study of Islamic Manuscripts at Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, in co-operation withthe Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin, organised an international workshop / training course on “Codicological and Palaeographical Aspects of Islamic Manuscripts, with a Special Focus on Manuscript Notes”.
The course took place from 25th until 29thMarch 2019, at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Germany.
The main objectives of this Course were the following:
- Giving the students access to the original manuscripts.
- Providing the participants with the basic codicological and palaeographical knowledge and the research procedures they will need when studying and analysing Arabic and Islamic manuscripts, as well as at familiarizing them with the different collections of the Arabic and Islamic manuscripts, especially the collection of the Oriental Department of the Berlin State Library, which holds around 43,000 volumes, making itone of the most important collections of Arabic manuscripts in Europe, and the largest in West.
- Providing practical sessions consisted of analysing and describing selected Arabic and Islamic manuscripts found in the collection of the Berlin State Library.
- Providing a global overview of the field, thus proving a ground-breaking programme in the frame of Arabic and Islamic codicological and palaeographical studies, mainly due to its practical approach and to the quality and diversity of the examples which were examined during the Course.
- Raising awareness on the importance of the codicological and palaeographical aspects of Islamic manuscripts, and encouraging further studies in this field.
- Providing a general introduction to this field, with an emphasis on manuscripts as a source for social and intellectual history of scholarship in the Arab and Islamic world.
- Familiarizing the students with the importance manuscript sources have for the understanding of the Middle East, its history and cultures.
- Establishing bridges of co-operation between the cooperating institutions.
- Sharing experiences between different scholars and institutions.
- Creating a network of scholars in this field.
The Course was intended for advanced MA and doctoral students, as well as other junior researchers in the fields of Islamic Studies, history and comparative manuscript studies, and it was attended by 24 selected delegates coming from different countries (including Armenia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America).
The Course was taught by Professor Konrad Hirschler, Dr Anne Regourd, Dr Christoph Rauch, Dr Boris Liebrenz, Dr Olly Akkerman, and Dr Friederike Weis; and it was structured in theoretical and practical sessions.
The theoretical sessions provided an overall introduction to codicology, with a special focus on: handling the manuscripts, papers of Islamic manuscripts, social codicology, etc., while, on the palaeographical side, the Course focused on the transmission notes, owners and readers notes, endowment notes, collation marks, signatures, etc.
The practical sessions consisted of analysing and describing selected Arabic manuscripts found in the collection of the Oriental Department of the Berlin State Library. Participants were divided into groups and given manuscripts to analyse in accordance with the elements studied in the morning theoretical sessions, and were asked to present the findings of their analysis to the other participants and professors.
The course ended on Friday 29th March, with the delivery of certificates to the participants.