Gotha Manuscript Talks

Webinar series about oriental manuscripts convened by the Gotha Research Library

Manuscripts play a role in diverse academic fields, among them Philology, History, Art History, Theology, Religious Studies, Library Science and Museology, Translation Studies, even Natural Sciences (e.g., radio carbon dating), and Computer Science (e.g., “Digital Humanities”). They change approaches in these and other fields, consolidate and modify expert knowledge, and challenge researchers in different ways.

We invite experts to the Gotha Manuscript Talks to present their ongoing research, and discuss with them how particular manuscripts have changed their view of their objects of study. Based on manuscripts written in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, Syriac, Ethiopic, Hebrew, and many other “oriental” languages, together with our experts we trace processes of knowledge reception, or, alternatively, ask why certain kinds of knowledge were forgotten. In the framework of the Gotha Manuscript Talks, we study historical and literary developments that are manifest in manuscripts, theological problems that they display or resolve, processes of transmission, social and intellectual networks, artistic and museal practices, economic developments, and many other social and intellectual phenomena revolving around manuscripts. Manuscripts shed light on patrons, authors, copyists, illuminators, translators, merchants, bibliophiles, buyers, owners, and antiquarians. They do so in the main text as well as in secondary statements, by means of their layout as well as through the craftsmanship that went into them.

The Gotha Research Library of the University of Erfurt preserves the third largest collection of oriental manuscripts in Germany. Most of these 3.400 manuscripts were transferred to the Library in the early 1800s. They are relevant for all fields of knowledge and shed light on different aspects of a variety of manuscript cultures. With the Gotha Manuscript Talks, the Gotha Research Library hopes to stimulate exchange on manuscript cultures across different disciplines, and to encourage conversations about oriental manuscripts between researchers and interested listeners.

Format: lecture (45 min) + discussion (30-45 min)


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Recordings of the events are available in our media library.

In 2024, the Gotha Research Library will continue the successful webinar series "Gotha Manuscript Talks" in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler (University of Hamburg). Thematic foci are the effects of violence on manuscript cultures and the provenance of manuscripts outside Europe.

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Curator of the Oriental Manuscript Collection
(Gotha Research Library)
Gotha Research Library (Gotha, Schlossplatz 1)
Office hours
on appointment
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