A Descriptive Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts at St Johns College, Oxford

Hardcover | October 2, 2005

byEmilie Savage-Smith

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The collection of 41 treatises in 26 Oriental manuscripts now at St John's College, Oxford, reflect the varying ways in which Europeans have sought to make themselves familiar with the cultures of the East. Acquired between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, most are Arabic or Persian,but there are also Syriac, Hebrew, Turkish, Ethiopic, and Gujarati items. No mere catalogue, it includes an essay by Geert Jan van Gelder, the present Laudian Professor of Arabic, University of Oxford on the Arabic poetry that owners over the years jotted down on the margins, and is lavishlyillustrated with 37 examples of calligraphy, diagrams, and illuminations.The catalogue provides a detailed description of every item within each manuscript. Most of the manuscript volumes were acquired through the donation of Archbishop William Laud (d. 1645), founder of the Chair of Arabic which bears his name. Several of his volumes were acquired from the traveller and adventurer Sir Kenelm Digby (d.1665), who bought them in Amsterdam, possibly onLaud's behalf. They are an interestingly varied collection, including Qur'ans and Arabic and Persian treatises on astronomical, mathematical, and military subjects. A bi-lingual Hebrew-Latin manuscript, as well as Arabic astronomical tables, came through the donation of Edward Bernard, SavilianProfessor of Astronomy from 1673 to 1691. Six more manuscripts were given to the College in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including an Ottoman Turkish letter, a Gujarati merchant's map, and two Hebrew thirteenth-century deeds of conveyance collected by the antiquary John Pointer (d.1754), one-time chaplain of Merton College, Oxford.

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The collection of 41 treatises in 26 Oriental manuscripts now at St John's College, Oxford, reflect the varying ways in which Europeans have sought to make themselves familiar with the cultures of the East. Acquired between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, most are Arabic or Persian,but there are also Syriac, Hebrew, Turkish, ...

Emilie Savage-Smith is at Senior Research Fellow, St Cross College, Oxford; Senior Research Associate, The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 0.63 inPublished:October 2, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199201951

ISBN - 13:9780199201952

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Table of Contents

I CATALOGUEAbbreviationsNotes on use of CatalogueARABIC AND PERSIAN MANUSCRIPTS:Astronomy (Entry Nos 1-18)Mathematics (Entry Nos 19-21)Military Arts (Entry No.22)Encyclopaedias and Compendiums (Entry Nos. 23-24)Belles-lettres/Literature (Entry No.25)Hadith and Fiqh (Entry Nos. 26-27)Qur'ans (Entry Nos. 28-32)Bibles/Old Testament (Entry Nos 33-34)HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS (prepared by Peter E. Pormann):(Entry Nos 35-36)TURKISH MANUSCRIPTS (prepared by Tim Stanley):(Entry No.37)SYRIAC MANUSCRIPTS (prepared by Peter E. Pormann):(Entry No.38)ETHIOPIC MANUSCRIPTS (prepared by Edward Ullendorff):(Entry Nos 39-40)GUJARATI MANUSCRIPTS (prepared by Samir Sheikh, edited by Emilie Savage-Smith):(Entry No.41)II INCIDENTAL ARABIC POETRYGeert Jan van Gelder: III APPENDIXES1. Concordance by Shelfmark2. Concordance by Author3. Index by Title4. Index of Copyists5. Index of Owners6. Index of Proper Names

Editorial Reviews

`Emilie Savage-Smith's catalogue, with its beautiful illustrations and its learned and scrupulous analyses of the manuscripts - the contents, the script the paper and the binding - does credit to the collection it describes.'Alastair Hamilton, Times Literary Supplement