Arabic manuscripts in the JNUL, Jerusalem

Arabic Manuscripts in the JNUL, Jerusalem
Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem

The Professor Yahuda Collection
The well-known orientalist, Prof. Abraham Shalom Yahuda (Jerusalem, 1877 - New Haven, 1951) studied in Heidelberg and Strasbourg, and taught at the Berlin Hochschule, the University of Madrid, and the New School for Social Research in New York. He acquired a valuable collection of manuscripts, particularly Arabic material purchased mainly in Egypt. Parts of his manuscript collection were sold by him to various institutions (see: R. Mach, Catalogue of Arabic MSS (Yahuda Collection) in the Garrett Collection, Princeton 1977, “Introduction”). The Yahuda Collection of the JNUL consists of the manuscripts he kept until his death, which were donated to the JNUL by his family; their importance is in no way inferior to that of the manuscripts he sold.

The collection contains 1,155 manuscripts written in Arabic characters, most of them Arabic and about 10 % of them Persian and Ottoman. A considerable part of the collection consists of multititle codices, which brings the total number of titles in the collection to about 3,000.
Approximately one-third of the manuscripts are medieval, dating from the ninth to the sixteenth century.

The contents of the manuscripts include all areas of Islamic and Arabic sciences and Arabic, Persian and Ottoman literature. Some 400 titles are not listed by Brockelmann or other bibliographical sources, and are thus of great importance for research; for many other titles only single or very few other manuscripts are known, which makes them valuable for textual criticism and critical editions. Of special interest are the medical manuscripts, the majority of which are Persian. A collection of more than 100 Qurans, dating from the ninth to the nineteenth century, vividly illustrates the history of the Quran's calligraphy. A large proportion of the Persian and Ottoman manuscripts are illuminated, and contribute to the history of Persian and Ottoman art.