Collections News (page 4)

Collections News (page 4)

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In June 2015, a group of visitors from HMML came to the Augustinian house of Sankt Florian in Upper Austria. There they met Father Karl Rehberger, CRSA (1934-2018), the long-time archivist and librarian at Sankt Florian, but also a tie back to the very beginnings of HMML’s work: Fr. Rehberger recounted for the group how, as a young canon, he had met a Benedictine monk from Saint John’s who had very ambitious plans to microfilm manuscripts across Austria.

Sankt Florian, founded in the 11th century, was the fifth library where Fr. Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and his team worked. There they filmed 545 manuscripts, dating from the 9th to the 17th centuries. The collection reflects the broad range of collecting done at religious communities in the Middle Ages and Early Modern world, including Bibles, liturgical works, and hagiographic works, as well as classical Latin literature, the natural sciences, law, and other areas of study. Highlights include an 11th-century Gospel book (Sankt Florian, codex III,1; microfilm 2227), an 11th-century Bible (Sankt Florian, codex XI,1; microfilm 2458), a 15th-century collection of Saints’ lives (Sankt Florian, codex III,8; microfilm 2235), and several Missals and Breviaries (chiefly 14th-15th century). View now

The collection of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandum (Syro-Malankara Catholic Church) has now been cataloged. This collection is composed of 44 manuscripts, including one from the collection of Mar Ivanios College. The manuscripts are primarily written in the West Syriac (Serto) script, but there are also a few written in the East Syriac script, reflecting the diverse history of Syriac Christianity in India.

The contents of the manuscripts are primarily liturgical, including biblical texts, collections of prayers, and various rites and liturgies for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. These manuscripts are important witnesses for observing the evolving liturgical traditions of Christian communities in India.  Most of the manuscripts were produced in the 18th-20th centuries, but the one held at Mar Ivanios College, a copy of the four Gospels (APSTCH TRIV2 01 00001) is dated to 1563 CE. This manuscript is remarkable because it is one of the earliest surviving Syriac manuscripts that was copied in India. View now

The Syriac manuscripts from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Mannanam, India, have now been cataloged and are available for viewing in vHMML. The library of St. Joseph’s Seminary holds a rich collection of liturgical manuscripts from various traditions of Christian communities in India. In addition to liturgical manuscripts, this collection also boasts an interesting collection of linguistic materials, including various grammars and dictionaries.

One of the most interesting of these grammatical resources is APSTCH MANN 00088, which contains a hand-copied version of the Nomenclator Syriacus, a Syriac dictionary by an Italian Jesuit named Giovanni Baptista Ferrari originally pubished in 1622. The original dictionary contained definitions of Syriac words in Latin, but in this version of the text, the definitions have all been translated from Latin to Malayalam and are written in Malayalam Garshuni. This work, and others like it, testify to the linguistic diversity of the Syriac Christian communities in India. View now

The collection of the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Mosul is now fully cataloged and available in Reading Room. The collection consists of 426 manuscripts, most of which are in Syriac or in Arabic Garshuni. Among these manuscripts are Bibles, liturgical books, hagiographies, and other religious texts, ranging from the 13th century to the late 20th century. The collection offers a fascinating window into the life of a West Syriac community in a region that is predominantly East Syriac.

For example, ASOM 00388 includes, along with many hagiographies, two 'Onyata hymns by the 13th-century author Gewargis Warda, whose work usually appears in East Syriac manuscripts, but they appear here in a Syriac Orthodox manuscript.  ASOM 00230, pictured here, includes an illustration of a demon in a typically East Syriac style. View now

The manuscript collection of the Chaldean Syrian Church in Trichur (Thrissur), India has now been cataloged. This diverse collection of manuscripts provides valuable insight into the ecclesiastical and liturgical developments among Syriac Christian communities.

Particularly important among this collection are manuscripts that testify to dual influence of both middle eastern Chaldean Catholic and Portuguese Roman Catholic missionary efforts on the community in Trichur. A significant number of the manuscripts are liturgical in content, but there are also a number of other genres represented, including grammatical works, notebooks, journals, and collections of canon law. This collection boasts an impressive number of important 17th-century manuscripts, but the earliest dated manuscript in the collection is a very important witness to the Nomocanon (Qānone súnhādíqāye) of ʻAbdisho bar Brīkā (APSTCH THRI 00064) dated to 1291 CE, which is within ʻAbdisho’s lifetime. Most of the manuscripts in this collection were copied locally in India, but several of them were brought from the middle east, providing evidence for the well-worn travel routes between the middle east and the Kerala region of India. View now

Cataloging has been completed for all known Islamic and Arabic-script manuscripts in HMML's microfilm collection. In addition to the large collections of the Austrian National Library and the University of Tübingen, this includes smaller collections from a variety of university, monastic, and other libraries, primarily in Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Austria.

For example, HMML holds seven microfilmed Islamic manuscripts from the University of Rostock in Germany; MS Orient. 154 (microfilm 49182R, pictured) is a particularly spectacular example of two Arabic grammatical texts copied for Ottoman Sultan Selim II in 1568 CE, in which marginal notes are shaped into the form of buildings, ships, words, and other designs.

This cataloging work also included updating and improving existing records for Arabic-script microfilms that were already in HMML's Reading Room. For example, MS 4.b.19 from the National Library of South Africa in Cape Town (microfilm South Africa 79) was previously listed as an unidentified Arabic text. It has now been identified as a collection of Urdu (!) poetry by a 19th-century Indian poet known by the pen name of Barq. These microfilms can be consulted onsite at HMML or scanned.

Cataloging has been completed for the Islamic and Arabic-script manuscripts that HMML microfilmed at the Universitätsbibliothek of the University of Tübingen in the 1980s. This includes well over 300 Arabic manuscripts, over 100 manuscripts each in Persian and Ottoman Turkish, 2 in Kurdish, 1 in Pashto, and portions of manuscripts in Javanese and Malay. One of the Arabic manuscripts is in Garshuni (Syriac script). Most of the manuscripts were produced by Muslims, but a significant number are by Christians, and others are Druze.

Interesting trends include many Persian texts from the Deccan in southern India, especially the court of the Qutb Shahs in Hyderabad, and a large collection of Ismā'īlī Muslim texts in Arabic, mostly copied in Gujarat around 1900. The collection also includes some of the world's oldest Qurʼan manuscripts on parchment, especially Ma VI 165 (42340), which has been carbon dated to the 7th century CE. The contents of the library were brought to Tübingen by numerous Orientalist scholars and other collectors over the centuries, including a group of well over 100 primarily Arabic manuscripts that were collected by Johann Wetzstein in Damascus and purchased by the library in the 1860s. Existing cataloging on this collection is very limited, especially for non-Arabic manuscripts, and not many are digitized. The Universitätsbibliothek is planning to integrate HMML's new catalog information into their online catalog. View now

HMML has now created access in Reading Room to metadata for 100,634 objects of historical and cultural significance from hundreds of repositories around the world. More than half of these objects are accompanied by high-quality digital images photographed after 2003, and others offer a window on HMML's microfilm collection, representing the fruits of efforts since HMML's inception in 1964 to microfilm and catalog thousands of artifacts of handwritten heritage.

Users can access an additional 4,565 digitized art objects via HMML Museum, which showcases both HMML's own physical collections and world-class art collections from repositories primarily in Malta.

Two significant examples of the collections of individual churches are newly cataloged and available for view in Reading Room:  the collection of the Muḥradah Parish Church, located in Muḥradah, Syria (MHAR, 19 objects), and the Dormition of the Theotokos Church, located in Kubbā, Lebanon (KOBA, 15 objects).

Some churches had their own small manuscript collections for their own use. These collections might typically include liturgical manuscripts, Bibles, and maybe some sermons. A collection of this kind might not exceed 20 manuscripts; however, looking at these manuscripts in HMML's Reading Room, one realizes how influential they were in the life of the church. Most of the manuscripts are wanting leaves at the beginning and end as evidence of being in continuous use. Moreover, some of them witness the lives of the members of their churches through the birth and death notes written on their margins. View now

The collection of the library of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Damascus (GCPD) shows the vast interest of its collectors in diverse topics. Its 182 manuscripts cover a wide range of genres, including Bibles and commentaries, sermons and meditations, history, theology, and liturgy. For example, GCPD 00167 contains an Arabic Pentekostarion.

Additionally, the collection holds a number of Islamic texts, evidencing an interest in the interactions among different religious groups in the area.  These include legal works, commentaries, fables, and poetry, such the poetic Persian-Turkish dictionary by Vehbi, found in GCPD 00107. View now

55 years ago, in March 1967, Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and his team arrived at the Cistercian abbey of Zwettl in northwest Lower Austria. Over the course of about one month, they microfilmed 439 manuscripts and early printed books, dating mostly from the 12th to the 16th century. HMML has added records for all of these codices to Reading Room. These include Bibles, hagiographic collections, liturgical books, and a wide range of monastic and theological texts. One unusual item is an illustrated 18th-century manuscript describing a journey to South America and back by Florian Baucke (“Hin und her," or in English, “There and back”; 7012 and 7014).

Stift Zwettl is the last of nine Austrian Cistercian collections to be added to Reading Room. There are now 1,582 entries for manuscripts at the Cistercian houses of Heiligenkreuz, Lilienfeld, Mehrerau, Neukloster (Wiener Neustadt), Rein, Schlierbach, Stams, Wilhering, and Zwettl! View now

192 works of art, including watercolors, drawings, prints, and maps from the Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu, Malta, have been added to HMML Museum. The collection includes important watercolors by Nicolas Cammillieri and Paolo Ambrogio, and a near complete set of portraits of the Grand Masters of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from the 1726 edition of René Aubert de Vertot's Histoire des chevaliers hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jerusalem. 33 maps, largely from the 17th century, are also found in the collection. The digitization of the art collection was done in partnership with Heritage Malta and forms part of the France and Malta in the Age of Revolution, 1775-1815 project. View now

Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, and his team arrived at the Schottenstift (“Scottish Monastery”) in August 1966. This was the first HMML project right in Vienna, Austria, and it produced microfilms of 458 manuscripts. Records for these are now available in Reading Room.

The Schottenstift was founded in 1155 by Irish and Scottish monks to aid pilgrims travelling from Ireland to the Holy Land. The monastery was later transferred to the control of Melk Abbey in the 15th century. Most of their manuscripts date from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The collection includes an interesting 16th-century account of travel to Istanbul and Jerusalem, as well as a 15th-century life of Saint Benedict in pictures. Other highlights include a 1483 printed Bible in German with colored woodcuts and a 14th/15th-century world chronicle in German with hundreds of miniatures. View now

The collection of the Congregation of the Chaldean Daughters of Mary Immaculate in ‘Aynkāwah, Iraq (CSDMA), a women’s religious order of the Chaldean Catholic Church, has been cataloged and is available for viewing in HMML Reading Room.

The collection consists of 46 manuscripts in Syriac, Neo-Aramaic, and Arabic, including liturgical books, theological works, works on medicine, and protective charms. View now

In the last decade of his life, Father Albīr Abūnā (1928-2021) sat down in Stockholm, Sweden, or in Erbil, Iraq, translating works of popular Catholic authors into Arabic. These authors include Pope Francis, Anselm Grün, Raniero Cantalamessa, Carlo M. Martini, and Joan Chittister. Father Albīr worked on the French originals or translations of these works with publication in mind. Thus, he wrote some instructions to the publishers such as “put a photo of the author here,” or “this paragraph is to be added as a blurb,” and so on. Additionally, he translated a couple of works from Syriac and Aramaic old editions into Arabic.

His private manuscript collection (PLE FAA) consists of 67 manuscripts that represent mainly the autographs of these translations. They were digitized by HMML in 2018 and are now available in the Reading Room. View now

Cataloging is now complete for the Arabic-script manuscripts microfilmed by HMML during the 1960s and 1970s at the Austrian National Library. The newly cataloged records are available online in Reading Room.

Among its massive collections, the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek holds several thousand manuscripts in Arabic script, primarily Islamic with a few Christian items. Over 3,200 of these were photographed and microfilmed by HMML in 1971 and are now fully cataloged in HMML’s online Reading Room. They include over a thousand manuscripts each in Arabic and Ottoman Turkish (alongside Chagatai and other Turkic languages and dialects), over 500 in Persian, a few in Urdu, and one each in Bosnian and Albanian. This is now the most comprehensive catalog of the collection to be found anywhere, because the Nationalbibliothek is still in the process of integrating information into their own online catalog, especially for items acquired since the catalog of Gustav Flügel was published in the 1860s. HMML’s catalog also corrects some errors found in earlier catalogs. The collection is an especially valuable resource for Ottoman Turkish, including many items that can otherwise be found nowhere outside Turkey (or nowhere at all).

Literary and historical texts are especially well represented in the collection, which includes highlights ranging from the world’s oldest known New Persian manuscript (Cod. A.F. 340, dated 1056 CE) to diplomatic correspondence exchanged between the Austrian and Ottoman empires. About 250 of the manuscripts comprise the Glaser collection, acquired by the library in the 1890s and consisting primarily of Zaydī manuscripts from Yemen. The Glaser microfilms have been scanned and are available for viewing online; the remainder of the microfilms can be consulted onsite in Minnesota or can be scanned for a fee, or the catalog records can be used as a resource for research in contact with the library in Vienna. View now

The collection of manuscripts from the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Homs, Syria (SOAH) is now fully cataloged and available for viewing in Reading Room. The city of Homs is significant in the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church because it briefly served as the home for the Patriarchate (from 1932 until 1959).

The SOAH collection is comprised primarily of liturgical manuscripts (Bibles, Lectionaries, Anaphoras, Beth Gazos, Prayer books, etc.) in Arabic Garshuni and Syriac. While the vast majority of the collection is written in the West Syriac (Serto) script, there are a small number of manuscripts written in the East Syriac and Melkite scripts, suggesting that the SOAH library collected manuscripts from other churches in the area. Many of the manuscripts were copied in Homs or nearby villages like Ṣadad and Fairouzeh, though some were copied in Lebanon and in small villages along the modern Syria-Lebanon border. Most of the manuscripts are modern productions (19th-20th century), but there are several 15th-century or 16th-century manuscripts and a very important 12th-century Fenqitho manuscript (SOAH 292). View now

The owner of this private library, Ḥikmat Raḥmānī, is known for his work cataloging several libraries in Iraq, such as the library of Dayr al-Ābāʼ al-Karmalīyīn (Baghdad, Iraq). The sixty-three manuscripts which constitute his private collection have recently become available in HMML’s Reading Room.

These manuscripts express the various interests of their owner. His library includes historical works, dictionaries, notebooks, and musical notations and hymns. More importantly, many manuscripts in the Private Library of Ḥikmat Raḥmānī are related to Father Anistās Mārī, al-Karmilī, 1866-1947. For instance, there are autographs of his published works such as Muʻjam al-Musāʻid, and others of works that were never published such as Muʻjam al-Qabāʼil al-ʻArabīyah. There are also some of his compilations in addition to correspondence with some of the intellectual elites of his days. View now

We have consolidated our lists of collections, both cataloged and uncataloged, into a new database. You can now search and see a list of collections and their preservation and cataloging status. Completed collections are in HMML Reading Room or HMML Museum.

The manuscript collection of the Chaldean Archdiocese of Kirkuk (ACK) is now fully cataloged and available in HMML Reading Room. The collection includes 219 manuscripts, the contents of which are written primarily in Syriac, but also in Arabic, Arabic Garshuni, Turkish Garshuni, and Neo-Aramaic (Sureth).

Among the manuscripts are many copies of ecclesiastical and liturgical works, including Bibles, lectionaries, Ḥudras, and various liturgies used in the Chaldean rite. There are also translations of modern Roman Catholic authors into Syriac, Arabic Garshuni, and Turkish Garshuni, suggesting a robust local translation effort and a diverse population among the archdiocese. Many of the manuscripts were produced locally in Kirkuk, providing evidence of a strong scribal tradition of the area, while others were copied in Alqūsh, Tel Keppe, or Baghdad.

Most of the manuscripts were produced in the 19th or 20th centuries, but there are a few older manuscripts, including a dated 13th-century New Testament manuscript (ACK 00003) and a 15th-century copy of the Paradise of Eden by ʻAbdīshōʻ bar Brīkā (ACK 00066). Other noteworthy manuscripts among the collection include a somewhat rare hagiographical “Life of Ezekiel of Duqoq” (after whom was named a monastery near Kirkuk; ACK 00074), a collection of works by the East Syriac author Barḥadbšabba Arbaya (ACK 00147), and a somewhat unique collection of hagiographical and apocryphal works (ACK 00213). View now

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