he course Arabic Codicology: the Islamic Manuscript Heritage in the El Escorial Collection, co-organised by Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage 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 meet again to deliver 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 short CV and a motivation letter explaining the interest in the course are required; they 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.