October 2, 2012

Sermons

This work is part of a collection of sermons by the Jesuit "monk" Būlus (Paul) al-Sanīrī (died 1691), as he is called here. It is in a carefully written script and thoroughly rubricated. In addition to the regular use of rubrication for section title, quotations from the Bible are also given in red, with the exact verse references also indicated in red in the margin. Initial and final pages of the volume have some minor water damage. The manuscript once belonged to the Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina at Deir Kfīfāne monastery in Lebanon.

Daily Office

This liturgical manuscript is the daily office (Šḥimto) of the Maronites, partly in Syriac, but with some of the prayers in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). Each page has the text blocked off in red ink. At the end of the manuscript, the ink has bled through in several places, and within the text, several folios have missing pieces (for example, folio 144v). The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Marun (died 410), a Syrian monk whose followers built a monastery in his honor that became the nucleus of the Maronite Church.

Syriac Grammar

This manuscript, which has worm damage and is missing folios at the end, is a grammar of Syriac written in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). There is a table of contents, after which the text is written in two columns. The red ink has faded somewhat and is not as clear as the black ink. The section titles are given in both Syriac and Arabic. Syriac is an eastern dialect of Aramaic, which was spoken by Christians in the lands between the Roman Empire and the Arabian Sea from the first century to the 12th century. Garshuni came into use when Arabic became the dominant spoken language in the lands of the Fertile Crescent before a written form of the Arabic language had developed. It is still in use among some Syriac Christian congregations.

Syriac Grammar

This work is a grammar of Syriac written in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). The Syriac words and expressions are partially vocalized, and the section titles are in both Arabic and Syriac. In the colophon, the work is called a musawwada (draft) and there are numerous corrections and annotations to the text. It is also stated that the copy was completed on the 18th of Ab, meaning August, 1867. It was first created at the Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina at Deir Kfīfāne in Lebanon; later it belonged to the Monastery of Saint Anthony Qozhaya in northern Lebanon. Syriac is an eastern dialect of Aramaic, which was spoken by Christians in the lands between the Roman Empire and the Arabian Sea from the first century to the 12th century. Garshuni came into use when Arabic became the dominant spoken language in the lands of the Fertile Crescent before a written form of the Arabic language had developed. It is still in use among some Syriac Christian congregations.

Grammatical Investigations

This clearly written manuscript, dated 1857, is a work on grammatical questions by Gabriel Germanus, or Jirmānūs, Farḥāt (circa 1670–1732), metropolitan of Aleppo and founder of the Lebanese Maronite Order. Maronite synod documents of the 16th century reflect a poor standard of Arabic and are often interspersed with Syriac words. Metropolitan Farḥāt was a writer of correct and elegant Arabic and a forerunner of the Maronite initiative in the 19th century Arabic revival. The work was written in 1705 and then printed in 1836 at the American Protestant press in Malta, although it also continued to be copied by hand. It is divided into buḥū (singular baḥṯ), meaning examinations, and maṭālib (singular maṭlab), meaning problems. Each problem is a short paragraph on a particular grammatical topic. The work has been very popular, as attested by the great number of extant manuscripts, both in Eastern and European collections.

Manhattan Lying on the North River

Joan Vinckeboons (1617–70) was a Dutch cartographer and engraver born into a family of artists of Flemish origin. He was employed by the Dutch West India Company and for more than 30 years produced maps for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. He was a business partner of Joan Blaeu, one of the most important map and atlas publishers of the day. Vinckeboons drew a series of 200 manuscript maps that were used in the production of atlases, including Blaeu’s Atlas Maior. This 1639 pen-and-ink and watercolor map shows Manhattan Island as it appeared some 25 years after the establishment of the Dutch fur trading settlement known as New Amsterdam (present-day New York City). Also shown are Staten Island, Coney Island, and the North (Hudson) River. The numbered index at the lower right indicates the names of farms and buildings and their owners. The letters in the index indicate the locations of Fort Amsterdam, three mills, and the slave quarter of the settlement. The map was once part of a manuscript atlas belonging to the Dutch firm of Gerard Hulst van Keulen, which published sea atlases and navigational handbooks for over two centuries. With the demise of the firm, the atlas was acquired and broken up by the Amsterdam book dealer Frederik Muller, who in 1887 sold 13 maps from the atlas attributed to Vinckeboons to the collector and bibliographer Henry Harrisse. This map is part of the Henry Harrisse Collection in the Library of Congress.