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Collections News (page 1)

Collections News (page 1)

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Cataloging is now complete for 20 items from Kullīyat Bābil al-Ḥabrīyah lil-Falsafah wa-al-Lāhūt (Babel College for Theology), a Chaldean Catholic seminary in ʻAynkāwah, Iraq. This collection was digitized in collaboration with the Centre Numérique des Manuscrits Orientaux (CNMO) and includes the collection of Yūsuf Ḥabbī (1938-2000), one of the founders of the seminary. Texts in the collection are primarily Arabic, Syriac, and Neo-Aramaic, with a small amount of French and Turkish. The oldest item in the collection is a Syriac grammatical manuscript dated to 1702 CE (PBCL Y HABBI 00010), while one of the newest is an unusually late manuscript copy of a devotional work in Arabic Garshuni, copied in 1991 CE (PBCL 00005 and PBCL 00006). View now

Cataloging is complete for 74 items from Dayr Sayyidat al-Bishārah (BCCZ), the Convent of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Zūq Mīkhāʼīl, Lebanon. The collection is primarily Arabic, with small portions in Greek, Latin, Ottoman Turkish, and French, and the earliest items date back to at least the early 17th century. Certain works testify to the particular interests of religious women in this Melkite Greek Catholic convent, including lives of female saints (such as a book-length biography of Teresa of Avila), homilies addressed to nuns, and the rules of the community. Other items include liturgical and devotional works, some of which were translated from early Christian Greek or early modern European originals. Of particular interest is a 1612 illustrated Arabic copy of Barlaam and Joasaph (BCCZ 00031), a popular story inspired by the life of the Buddha. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of Buṭrus Mattī Yūsuf in ʻAynkāwah, Iraq (PLF PMY). Yūsuf (1936-2015) was a Chaldean Catholic native of northern Iraq who lived in Paris for most of his later life. His manuscript collection includes his own class notes from his studies in Rome in the 1950s and 1960s along with numerous Syriac texts that were copied by hand from the great manuscript collections of Paris, London, and the Vatican, in many cases followed by French translations. Many of these recent copies were inherited from the earlier French Syriacist François Nau (1864-1931) and are likely in his hand. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of Dayr al-Qiddīs Yūḥannā al-Maʻmadān, or Saint John the Baptist Monastery, a Greek Orthodox institution in Dūmā, Lebanon (DUMA). The collection is almost entirely Arabic with a little Syriac and is surprisingly rich for its small size. It includes an Old Testament manuscript dated to 1236 CE, a liturgical book dated to 1322, and several other manuscripts that are likely of similar age, such as a rare Gospel commentary of Coptic origin. Rare patristic and medieval homilies are joined by numerous liturgical books copied in the late 18th century by Afthīmiyūs, a monk who worked to renovate and expand the monastery. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of the Congregation of the Chaldean Daughters of Mary Immaculate in Baghdad (CSDMB). The collection includes liturgical books along with modern scholarly works. It is primarily in Arabic and Syriac, but a compilation of the correspondence of the priest Buṭrus Ḥaddād (1937-2010) includes numerous languages and showcases Ḥaddād's global connections. View now

Cataloging is complete for the private library of Saʻīd Shāmāyā in Alqūsh, Iraq (PLA SSh). Shāmāyā (born 1929) is a contemporary poet and author working in both Arabic and Neo-Aramaic. The collection includes drafts of his poems, short stories, plays, and other works, including works composed under a pseudonym during the decade he spent in hiding under the rule of Saddam Hussein. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of the Dominican Fathers of Baghdad (DFB). Along with recent scholarly works in French and Arabic, the collection includes a manuscript containing two sacred texts from Iraq's minority Mandaean community. View now

Cataloging is complete for the Kfarbo parish of the Greek Orthodox Church in Ḥamāh, Syria (KFARBO). The collection includes the parish's full complement of liturgical books, primarily in Arabic with small portions in Greek, and dates from the 17th to the 19th century. The oldest dated item in the collection is a Horologion printed in Bucharest in 1702 by Antim Ivireanul, a famous early printer of Georgian origin. View now

Cataloging is complete for the private library of ʻAzīz Qāshā in Karamlīs, Iraq (PLK AQ). Qāshā was a poet working in both Neo-Aramaic and Arabic who died in 2013, and the collection includes drafts and copies of his poems. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of St. Peter's Chaldean Patriarchal Seminary (SPSCPI) in Baghdad, a collection of nine manuscripts photographed by HMML's partners at the Centre Numérique des Manuscrits Orientaux. The majority of the items in this small collection are homiletic or liturgical in nature, in Arabic or Syriac. The collection includes one of the first Arabic books printed in the Middle East, a devotional work by a Spanish Jesuit printed at the Lebanese monastery of Shuwayr in 1734. Less expected items include a 1910 geometry textbook in Ottoman Turkish and an 1893 collection of stories in Turkish Garshuni (Turkish written in Syriac script). View now

The manuscripts from the collection of Mar Sarkis and Bakhos Syrian Orthodox Church of Qarah Qūsh have now been fully cataloged and are available for viewing in HMML Reading Room. The church, named after the saints Sergius and Bacchus, is likely the oldest church in Qaraqosh, a village that is now known as Bakhdida, Iraq. This church of Mar Sarkis and Bakhos was badly damaged in attacks by ISIS between 2014 and 2016, making the preservation of these manuscripts in 2010 all the more significant.

The collection consists of 80 manuscripts, almost entirely in Syriac script. The majority of the manuscripts were copied in the 18th and 19th centuries, though some date earlier. MSBSOCQ 00058, for example, is a Fenqīthō (liturgical manuscript) dated to 1579 CE. Given that this collection comes from a church, it is not surprising that the contents of the manuscripts are primarily liturgical. Some of the manuscripts were copied in Qaraqosh, providing evidence of the local scribal culture among the Syriac Orthodox community there. View now

In the 10th century, a Benedictine community was established at the site of the hermitage (“Einsiedler” = hermit) of Saint Meinrad (797-861 CE). From 965 until 1806, the abbot of Einsiedeln was also a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. The reputation of the monastic library’s collection drew the attention of the early planners of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, visited Einsiedeln already in late 1964, hoping to obtain permission to photograph their manuscripts. Unfortunately for Father Oliver, the Swiss librarians had already agreed to refuse any such offer. Nevertheless, in this same period he was able to garner cooperation with monastic libraries in Austria and turned his attention to these. While no work could be done in the 1960s, three decades later (in 1997) HMML staff returned to Einsiedeln, where they microfilmed 580 manuscripts and collections of fragments. Many of these manuscripts date from the 8th to the 10th centuries, but the collection includes hundreds of manuscripts from throughout the Middle Ages.

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library has now added updated records for all of these manuscripts to its Reading Room ( In recent years, Swiss scholars have digitized almost 80 of these manuscripts and made them available at the e-codices website ( In such cases, HMML has added links in the Reading Room records to the digitized versions.

With the addition of the online records for the Abbey of Einsiedeln, the descriptions of approximately 1000 manuscripts microfilmed by HMML in Switzerland are now complete. View now

The Tribunal Armamentorum or Magistrato degli Armamenti was founded by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt on June 17, 1605. It was constituted by four knights of different langues and a secular judge nominated by the Grand Master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The Tribunal heard and judged all cases regarding corsairs with a second and final appeal to Rome. An index by Giuseppe Carbone was prepared in the late nineteenth century. The project began in 2022 and ended in 2023. View now

The collection of the library of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch is now cataloged and available in HMML Reading Room. Manuscripts from this collection date from as early as 1231 CE through the first half of the 20th century, with most originating in the 18th century (174 manuscripts). One significant feature of this collection is its provenance. Manuscript pages show seals, signatures, and gift and ownership notes that bear witness to several collectors and the transition of manuscripts from hand to hand. For example, several people gave their manuscripts, while living or posthumously, to the famous beloved Melkite Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Gregory IV Ḥaddād, who later deposited his entire collection with the patriarchate. Many manuscripts came from the library of another famous donor, the historian ʻĪsá Iskandar Maʻlūf, and his children. Some manuscripts moved through multiple hands as a part of their rich history.

The collection offers new texts available in Reading Room for the first time, showcasing many traditions.

Many of the manuscripts underwent conservation, which included rebinding old and fragile manuscripts, in the first decade of this century. This process was led by the curator of the collection, Dr. Jūzīf Zaytūn, and restoration expert Rajāʼ Rājiḥah. View now

Cataloging is complete for two new collections from Yemen: the libraries of the al-Sirājī (Maktabat al-Ḥasan ibn Qāsim al-Sirājī) and al-ʻAntharī (Maktabat al-ʻAntharī) families. Images were provided by the Zaydi Manuscript Tradition project at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

The al-Sirājī library includes 62 manuscripts on a variety of topics such as Zaydī law, hadith, and theology, along with numerous examples of poetry. The oldest dated manuscript in the collection is a commentary on the Qurʼan from 1426 (ZMT 02999), but there are several undated manuscripts that are likely significantly older. On the other hand, some manuscripts in the collection were produced as recently as 2002 (ZMT 02973), generally containing texts by members of the al-Sirājī family themselves. The al-Sirājī family originates from the town of Ḥūth, and several manuscripts contain important genealogical information on the notable families of Ḥūth, accompanied by complex family tree diagrams. View now

The al-ʻAntharī collection includes 13 manuscripts of important texts on law, hadith, and theology, with dates ranging from 1588 (ZMT 03062) to 1862 (ZMT 03059). Both collections are entirely Arabic, with the exception of one manuscript in the al-Sirājī library (ZMT 02965) that contains a small amount of Ottoman Turkish.  View now

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