Dr. Feras Krimsti


Curator of the Oriental Manuscript Collection (Gotha Research Library)


Gotha Research Library (Gotha, Schlossplatz 1)

Office hours

on appointment

Visiting address

University of Erfurt
Gotha Research Library
Schloss Friedenstein
Schlossplatz 1
99867 Gotha

Mailing address

University of Erfurt
Gotha Research Library
Schloss Friedenstein
Schlossplatz 1
99867 Gotha

Dr. Feras Krimsti


Main areas of research

In my research, I focus on the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire in early modernity and modernity. I work at the intersection of Cultural, Intellectual, and Social History, and I focus in particular on material culture, especially manuscripts and documentary sources.

Ego documents, especially travelogues, eyewitness reports, letters, and chronicles are at the centre of my research. I study these texts from a microhistorical perspective, based on close readings. I am interested in processes of identity formation and the representation of Ottoman sovereignty in complex social, religious, and economic configurations as well as the relations between self and society. I focus in particular on Arab Christians and their relations to their society and intellectual milieu.

Premodern Christian manuscript collections and scribal practices, which can be reconstructed based on secondary statements in manuscripts, are another focal area of my research. I ask how the formation of private book collections and practices like copying relate to the social and intellectual milieu of book owners and copyists and whether they influenced each other.

Subject librarian

Oriental Studies


Curriculum Vitae


Professional and academic activities

Since 05/2020 Curator of the oriental manuscript collection at the Gotha Research Library

2016–2020 Research associate in the ERC project “Stories of Survival: Recovering the Connected Histories of Eastern Christianity in the Early Modern World” at the University of Oxford; Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College

2011–2016 Research associate at Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin (Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentren Berlin)

2007–2009 Student assistant in the project “Corpus Coranicum” (Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)

Academic career

2011–2016 PhD in Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin (PhD dissertation: “The travelogue to Istanbul of the physician Ḥannā al-Ṭabīb from Aleppo (1764/65). Everyday life and identity formation”)

2006–2010 Arabic Studies, Islamic Studies, and Modern History at Freie Universität Berlin (degree: M.A.)

2000–2004 Study of History at the University of Aleppo (degree: B.A.)



Die Unruhen von 1850 in Aleppo: Gewalt im urbanen Raum. Berlin 2014. 523 S.

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Collected volumes and special issues

Feras Krimsti and John Paul Ghobrial (Hrsg.). The Past and its Possibilities in Nahḍa Scholarship, Philological Encounters (Special Issue) 6.3–4 (2021).

Essays in journals and anthologies

Gesellschaftliche Konfigurationen während des Aufstands 1819/20 in Aleppo nach den Aufzeichnungen des armenisch-katholischen Bischofs ’Abrāhām Kūbilyān. In: Der Islam 88.1 (2012), S. 123–146.
Open access

The 1850 Uprising in Aleppo: Observations on Violence and its Motifs in an Arabic City during the Early Phase of the Tanzimat Reforms. In: Ostour 1 (2015), S. 120–139 [auf Arabisch].
Open access

The 1850 Uprising in Aleppo. Reconsidering the Explanatory Power of Sectarian Argumentations. In: Ulrike Freitag et al. (Hrsg.): Urban Violence in the Middle East: Changing Cityscapes in the Transition from Empire to Nation State. New York/ Oxford 2015, S. 141–163.

The Lives and Afterlives of the Library of the Maronite Physician Ḥannā al-Ṭabīb (c. 1702–1775) from Aleppo. In: Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 9.2–3 (2018), S. 190–217.
Open access

Disciplining Disobedient Subjects: The Punishment of Aleppo’s Insurgents in 1850 as a Contentious Issue. In: Stefan Winter und Mafalda Ade (Hrsg.): Aleppo and its Hinterland in the Ottoman Period / Alep et sa province à l'époque ottomane. Leiden 2019, S. 204–228.

Arsāniyūs Shukrī al-Ḥakīm’s Account of His Journey to France, the Iberian Peninsula, and Italy (1748-1757) from Travel Journal to Edition. In: Philological Encounters 3-4 (2019), S. 202–244.

The Past and its Possibilities in Nahḍa Scholarship (Together with John-Paul Ghobrial). In: Philological Encounters 6/3-4 (2021), S. 265–287.
Open access

The Last Janissary Leader of Aleppo: ʿAbdallah Babinsi (1780s-1850), a Notable between Urban and Rural Spheres. In: Johann Büssow und Yuval Ben-Bassat (Hrsg.): From the Household to the Wider World: Local Perspectives on Urban Institutions in Ottoman Bilad al-Sham. Tübingen 2022, S. 67–78.
Open access

Von Aleppo nach Gotha: Der Aleppiner Buchmarkt des 18. Jahrhunderts im Spiegel der von Ulrich Jasper Seetzen erworbenen Gothaer Handschriften. In: Kathrin Paasch (Hrsg.): Bücher Bewegen. 375 Jahre Forschungsbibliothek Gotha. Gotha 2022, S. 56–63.
Open access

Signatures of Authority: Colophons in Seventeenth-Century Melkite Circles in Syria. In: Christopher Bahl und Stefan Hanß (Hrsg.): Scribal Practice and the Global Cultures of Colophons, 1400-1800. Cham 2022, S. 109–132.

‘Butcher’ or Patron of the Poor? Historical Representations of al-Jazzār. In: Konrad Hirschler (Hrsg.): Collected volume on the al-Jazzār library. Erscheint 2024.

Silent Helpers: The Role of Locals in Ulrich Jasper Seetzen’s Scholarly Work. In: Proceedings of the conference “Oriental Manuscripts in Germany. Collection History between the Academic Thirst for Knowledge, Antique Trade across the Globe, and Imperial Claims to Power”. Forthcoming 2024.

Contributions to encyclopaedias and handbooks

The massacre in Damascus, July 1860. In: David Thomas und John A. Chesworth (Hrsg.): Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Bd. 18, The Ottoman Empire (1800–1914), Leiden 2021, S. 378–406.

The 1850 Uprising in Aleppo. In: David Thomas und John A. Chesworth (Hrsg.): Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Bd. 18, The Ottoman Empire (1800–1914), Leiden 2021, S. 337–350.

The ‘Incident of the martyrs’ in Aleppo (1818). In: David Thomas und John A. Chesworth (Hrsg.), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Bd. 18, The Ottoman Empire (1800–1914), Leiden 2021, S. 295–306.

Ḥannā al-Ṭabīb, Riḥlat al-Shammās Ḥannā al-Ṭabīb ilā baldat Istanbūl (1764/65). In: Esther Miriam Wagner (Hrsg.): A Handbook and Reader of Ottoman Arabic, Cambridge 2021, S. 275-281.
Open access


zu Dana Sajdi, The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2013, in: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 76.2 (2017), S. 379–382.

zu Hasan Çolak, The Orthodox Church in the Early Modern Middle East: Relations between the Ottoman Central Administration and the Patriarchates of Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları 2015, in: Turkish Historical Review 8 (2017), S. 219–225.