Görke | Hirschler
Manuscript Notes as Documentary Sources
Arabic manuscripts abound in notes: readers scribbled notes recording their reading of the text, teachers issued certificates and licences of transmission, owners stated their legal ownership of the manuscript, users praised (or dispraised) the text, copyists added their verses and endowers set down their conditions. This copious material represents a unique resource for widening our understanding of Middle Eastern societies and for studying a variety of fields, such as social history, history of ideas, economic history, urban history, historical topography and biographical studies. This is the first volume that is specifically dedicated to discussing the potential of this source material. The eleven contributors, among them some of the leading researchers in this field, discuss case studies that date from the classical period to the 20th century and that originate in the different regions of the Middle East from Anatolia to Yemen and from North Africa to Iraq. The contributions collected in this volume show that the study of manuscript notes has set off to new horizons and that it will enhance our knowledge about societies in the region.