Catalogue of the Arabic, Persian and Turkish Manuscripts in Belgium is a union catalogue aiming is to present the Oriental manuscripts held by various Belgian public institutions (Royal Library, university and public libraries). These collections and their contents are largely unknown to scholars due to the lack of published catalogues. This first volume, consisting of a bi-lingual (English and Arabic) handlist, concerns the collection of the Université de Liège, which holds the largest number of Oriental manuscripts (c. 500). Each title is briefly described, identifying the author and offering basic material information. Most of the manuscripts described in this handlist originate from North Africa.
From the first Arabic grammar printed at Granada in 1505 to the Arabic editions of the Dutch scholar Thomas Erpenius (d.1624), some audacious scholars - supported by powerful patrons and inspired by several of the greatest minds of the Renaissance – introduced, for the first time, the study of Arabic language and letters to centres of learning across Europe. These pioneers formed collections of Arabic manuscripts, met Arabic-speaking visitors, studied and adapted the Islamic grammatical tradition, and printed editions of Arabic texts - most strikingly in the magnificent books published by the Medici Oriental Press at Rome in the 1590s. Robert Jones’ findings in the libraries of Florence, Leiden, Paris and Vienna, and his contribution to the history of grammar, are of enduring importance.