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Manchester's manuscripts (42)

Manchester's John Rylands University Library picked up 42 Maqdala manuscripts in 1901 when it bought a private collection of papers owned by the 26th Earl of Crawford, James Ludovic Lindsay.

The library's entry on the manuscripts reads:

42 items, on parchment and paper, dating mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. Ethiopian MSS 1-31 were purchased in 1901 with the Crawford collection, the remainder being acquired subsequently from various sources. The collection comprises mainly biblical and liturgical manuscripts, and stories of saints and martyrs. Included are a rare collection of biblical passages supposedly referring to the Messiah and intended to prove the divinity of Christ (Ethiopian MS 1), Rules for the monastic life (Ethiopian MS 16), the Fetha Nägäst (Ethiopian MS 13), and a deed of gift of the Emperor Adbar Sagad, Dawit III (1716-21), to the church of St Michael (Ethiopian MS 28). Among the poems are some rare mälke’: the Four Beasts (Ethiopian MS 14) and, especially, concerning Zena Marqos, a 14th-century saint-monk (Ethiopian MS 37). Ethiopian MSS 29-34 are magical scrolls, mainly 19th century. Ethiopian MS 11, an 18th-century Homilies in honour of St Michael, contains 32 miniatures in the Gondar style of illumination. Ten codices can be dated precisely (1590-1742).

Finding aids: Stefan Strelcyn, Catalogue of Ethiopic Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester (Manchester, 1974).

Location: JRULM (Deansgate).

Current location

The John Rylands University Library, Manchester

John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester. M13 9PP. United Kingdom

TELEPHONE (for general enquiries): +44(0)161-275 3738.

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