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Manuscripts

Learn more about the manuscripts in HMML’s digital and microfilm collections.

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Eastern Christian Manuscripts

HMML’s Eastern Christian manuscript collection contains digital images and microfilms of more than 40,000 Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ge‘ez (Ethiopic), Malayalam, Church Slavonic, and Syriac manuscripts.

The groundbreaking Ethiopian Manuscript Microfilm Library (EMML) provided the cornerstone of the collection, with more than 8000 manuscripts filmed during the 1970s and 1980s. With the advent of digital technology, HMML’s work rapidly expanded to the Middle East, Africa, and India. Partnerships with some 70 libraries have now created a unique resource for the study of Eastern Christianity in its historic cradle and in areas of its early expansion: Egypt, India, Iraq, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. HMML returned to Ethiopia in 2005, supplementing the original EMML project with new preservation work, notably the digitization of the famous Gospels at the Abba Garima Monastery in Tigray Province in 2013. Also in HMML’s collections are scans of non-EMML microfilms from the UNESCO and Ernst Hammerschmidt Tanasee projects of the 1960s. The manuscripts from Ethiopia and the Middle East are generally unknown or under-studied by European and North American scholars.

Most of HMML’s Church Slavonic manuscripts come from major research libraries in L’viv, Ukraine, including the Vasili Stefanyk National Library and the L’viv Historical Museum. A new project is underway at the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum. These libraries also contain significant collections of Latin manuscripts from the former Polish community in the city. Manuscripts from Serbian Orthodox communities in Croatia, Hungary, and Montenegro are a growing portion of HMML’s Church Slavonic collection.

Eastern Christian manuscripts were photographed in HMML’s European projects, notably the Austrian National Library, the University of Tübingen, the Abbey of Monserrat, and recent work in Malta. HMML is partnering with the Peshitta Institute (now at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam) to digitize their collection of biblical microfilms from the Middle East, and has recently received the Arthur Vööbus microfilm collection, formerly at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. These Syriac materials complement HMML’s digital holdings.

Find manuscripts: many scanned microfilms and born-digital images are now in vHMML Reading Room and others may be found through the Legacy Catalog. On vHMML Reading Room you will find links to lists indicating the current cataloging and online status of these collections.