Cours d’été: « Arabic Codicology. The Islamic Manuscript Heritage in the El Escorial Collection »,14-18 juill. 2014, El Escorial (Madrid). (date limite: 10 juin 2014)

The course Arabic codicology: The Islamic Manuscript Heritage in the El Escorial Collection, co-organised by Al-Furqan Foundation and the Complutense Universiy, aims to provide the students with the basic codicological knowledge and the research procedures they will need when studying and analyzing Arabic manuscripts, as well as at providing them with a familiarity with the libraries of the Arabic Islamic world in Medieval and Modern times, more especially that which belonged to the Moroccan sultan Muley Zaydân. In order to make sure that the training is comprehensive and effective, the course programme has been designed in such a way that the students can apply step by step the knowledge they acquire and develop their analytical abilities with the manuscripts.

The Royal Library of the El Escorial monastery houses the most important collection of Arabic manuscripts in Spain, one of the most interesting ones in Europe. The location where the Complutense University summer courses take place is, thanks to its closeness to the library, particularly valuable as far as the aims of this course are concerned since practical training will be organized there, thanks to the collaboration which has been set up with the library.

The course, directed by Nuria Martínez-de-Castilla, will be taught by specialists of Arabic manuscripts, among them two of the foremost experts in this field, François Déroche and Adam Gacek, who will for the first time give together a course of this kind.

The course provides a global overview of the field, thus proving a groundbreaking programme in the frame of Arabic codicological studies, mainly due to its practical approach and to the quality and diversity of the examples which will be examined during the course. It intends to answer the growing interest among scholars and professionals -like librarians, archivists, restorers, art historians, as well as researchers, university students and bibliophiles- with the international stance required by Arabic codicological studies.

The hands-on sessions imply that the number of students cannot exceed 16 persons. For this reason, a motivation letter explaining the interest in the course is required; it will be taken into account during the selection process. The course will be given in English in its entirety. Students have thus to be proficient in this language in order to successfully attend the course.


Monday, 14 July

10.30 h. Nuria Martínez-de-Castilla-Muñoz
Opening: Arabic manuscripts in the Real Biblioteca de San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
11.30 h. Coffee Break
12.00 h. François Déroche. École Pratique des Hautes Études. Paris
Writing surfaces: parchment and paper.
16.00 h. Hands-on session I: The making of an Arabic manuscript: writing surfaces and quires.
Nuria Martínez de Castilla Muñoz and François Déroche.

Tuesday, 15 July

09.30 h. José Luis del Valle Merino. Director of the RBME
History of the Manuscript Collections in the Real Biblioteca de San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
11.30 h. Coffee Break
12.00 h. François Déroche.
Inks and lay-out.
16.00 h. Hands-on session II: How to observe and describe an Arabic manuscript.
Nuria Martínez de Castilla Muñoz and François Déroche.

Wednesday, 16 July

09.30 h. Adam Gacek. McGill University. Canada
Scripts and Hands: Early Arabic Scripts. Later “Proportioned” and Regional Scripts.
11.30 h. Coffee Break
12.00 h. General Lecture open to all the participants.
16.00 h. Hands-on session III: Copyists at work.
Adam Gacek, François Déroche and Nuria Martínez de Castilla Muñoz.

Thursday, 17 July

09.30 h. Adam Gacek
Corrections and Glosses
11.30 h. Coffee Break
12.00 h. Adam Gacek
Ownership Statements, Seals Impressions and other inscriptions.
16.00 h. Hands-on session IV: Towards a History of the Arabic manuscript.
François Déroche and Adam Gacek

Friday, 18 July

09.30 h. François Déroche.
Arabic Bindings.
11.30 h. María Jesús Viguera Molins. Complutense University
History of the Arabic Manuscripts in Spain and Morocco.
12.30 h. Closing session and diploma delivery
16.00 h. Hand-on session V: Islamic Bindings.
François Déroche and Nuria Martínez de Castilla Muñoz


Course Fee: 215€.
Students, retired and unemployed people providing documentation supporting their status


before june, 10th.


Please, contact to request information about the course and the registration process. We will be glad to help you.



Agrégée d'Espagnol et docteur en Histoire médiévale (Université de Nantes), elle travaille sur les mudéjars/morisques et la littérature aljamiada (Espagne, XV-XVIe s.).

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