Universiteit Leiden

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Arabic Studies

Summer School

Philology and Manuscripts from the Muslim World

Date: 21 August - 1 September 2023
CostsTuition cost will be 600 euros.
Level: The course is meant for graduate students (MA and PhD) and researchers.
Language: English. Non-native speakers are required to have a command of English equivalent to at least TOEFL 550.
There are two scholarships to cover the tuition for students who don't have access to funding from their home institutions or otherwise. To be considered for this scholarship, please provide an official letter from your institution stating that they cannot provide the tuition fee. 


This summer school is for graduate (MA and PhD) students and researchers who have an interest in handwritten materials, editing, and the tradition of editing in the Muslim world. It offers theoretical lectures as well as hands-on practice with samples from the world-famous collections of the Leiden University Library.

Over the course of two weeks, specialists from Leiden University and beyond will provide instruction on issues of editing, paleography, conservation and other material aspects of oriental manuscripts. They will also speak about philology, literacy and orality and the transmission of knowledge in the Islamic manuscript culture, presenting case-studies from various parts of the Muslim world. Participants can use this information to practice their skills in producing a sample critical edition of a manuscript of their choice, under the supervision of experts.

Since the first contributions of scholars such as Scaliger, Golius and Warner, the Leiden University Library has housed one of the most important collections of oriental manuscripts in Europe. It includes thousands of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman manuscripts, not only from the historic heartlands of Islam but also from Asia, al-Andalus and Africa. Each participant will have full access to this collection as well as other library services.


Graduate (MA and PhD) students and researchers who have an interest in handwritten materials and text editing are encouraged to apply for participation in the summer school. Applications should include:

  • A letter of motivation specifying what research language(s) the applicant masters;
  • A curriculum vitae;
  • If you are a non-native speaker of English: a certificate testifying command of the English language (TOEFL 550 or equivalent).

The deadline for applications is Friday 16 June 2023.  Send your application to albab@hum.leidenuniv.nl

For questions please email: a.p.c. hooft@hum.leidenuniv.nl


Monday 21

13.30     Collect LU-card at the entrance of the University Library.

Welcome (Prof. dr Petra Sijpesteijn)


Introduction to the Library and to handling manuscripts.

Tuesday 22 Aug 


Text & Paratext (Dr Dorrit van Dalen)


Highlights from the Leiden Collection (Dr Arnoud Vrolijk, to be confirmed)

13-14 Lunch (invitation al-Babtain Leiden Centre for Arabic Studies)
All afternoons: Students work individually on a manuscript of their choice in the Special Collections Reading Room. (Petra Sijpesteijn and Dorrit van Dalen)

Wednesday 23 Aug

9.00-11.00  Transmission of knowledge, SamaꜤat, ijazas (Dr Dorrit van Dalen)
11.00- 13.00  

Western Semitic manuscripts (Dr Jonathan Stökl, to be confirmed) or Ethiopic manuscripts (Dr Kate Puchovaia)

Thursday 24 Aug

9.00-11.00 Practice palaeography (Dr Dorrit van Dalen) 
11-13  Reading papyri (Prof. dr Petra Sijpesteijn)

Friday 25  

9 -11  Material aspects of book making in the oriental tradition (Dr Karin Scheper) 
11-13   Indian Ocean, Manuscript Circulation, and Social Codicology (Dr Olly Akkerman)

Monday 28 aug


 Indonesian manuscripts:  letters of  the local kingdoms to the Dutch Governors in Batavia (Dr Suryadi)

11-13 Revealing marginal notes in Ottoman manuscripts (Dr Hans Theunissen)

Tuesday 29

9-11 Ownership notes and social history in Yemeni manuscripts (Dr Kate Pukhovaia)

Ownership notes and power in the Moghul empire (Reza Said Husein


Dinner (invitation al-Babtain Leiden Centre for Arabic Studies)

Wednesday 30    


Canonical texts from Persia (Prof. dr Gabrielle van den Berg)

11-13 Commentaries and living texts (Dr Peter Webb )

Thursday 31  


Early Qur’an manuscript (Dr Marijn van Putten)


Reading waqf documents  (Angela Isoldi)

Friday 1 September

9-13 Students present manuscript of their choice.
13 Presentation of certificates (Prof. dr Petra Sijpesteijn).
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