Courses & Workshops/Apr 27, 2018

The Manuscript Heritage of Ethiopia

The Manuscript Heritage of Ethiopia lead image

The Manuscript Heritage of Ethiopia: Theory and Practice, Third Hiob Ludolf Centre Summer School in Ethiopian and Eritrean Manuscript Studies, Mekelle, Ethiopia, September 24–29, 2018

From 24 to 29 September 2018, the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg - this time in cooperation with the St Yared Center for Ethiopian Philology and Manuscript Studies (YCEP) at Mekelle University, Ethiopia, and with a generous support from the VolkswagenStiftung - organizes its Third Summer School in Ethiopian and Eritrean Manuscript Studies.

Manuscripts are among the central objects of cultural heritage of Ethiopia, and their management has been a focus of research and activity in recent years.

There is no reliable figure for the total number of surviving manuscripts.

For Christian Ethiopic manuscripts, the numbers are likely in hundreds of thousands: there are many thousands churches and monasteries in Ethiopia and Eritrea, each in the possession of at least several manuscripts, with biggest collections counting several hundred codices. While the assumed numbers are very high, the number of historical – most valuable for researchers – manuscripts is diminishing at a quick pace. Field research confirms that over 90% of each manuscript collection is composed of manuscripts dating from the nineteenth and twentieth century. This underlines the necessity to record what has survived, and analyse the form and the content of these witnesses of the centuries past.

No reliable number for Islamic manuscripts in Ethiopia is known; until recently, only a few dozens were available and/or catalogued. In the past years, several hundred have been surveyed, partially digitized, and described, but more effort is still needed in evaluating this part of Ethiopian written heritage.

Many of the achievements in Ethiopian manuscript studies from the last few years have been the result of work of scholars based in Hamburg, who have also successfully organized two Summer Schools, vastly appreciated by the students and young scholars of Ethiopian studies, Semitic studies, and related disciplines.

The school aims at training graduate students and junior scholars in methods used in Ethiopian manuscript studies. Lectures and seminars in topics ranging from History to Philology to Codicology to Cataloguing shall cover the most central aspects of research and help in developing skills necessary for theoretical and practical tasks in the study of manuscripts. Digital technologies that have become indispensable in the past years shall be showcased. Practical exercises will include digitization and analytical description of manuscripts.

The school is open to students and scholars of all disciplines, but some background in Christian oriental studies (not necessarily Gəʿəz) is expected.

The Summer School shall be conducted in English. The classes shall take place every day from Monday (Sept. 24) through Saturday (Sept. 29).

20 participants shall be selected from all qualified applications that will reach us before the deadline.

The selected participants shall receive bursaries covering the travel and participation costs (flight, accommodation, and a per diem of 22 Euro/day for the duration of the school).

Participants of the First and Second Summer School cannot reapply for the Third Summer School.