Discover the story behind one of the oldest Islamic manuscripts in the world
The Birmingham Qur’an is one of the oldest surviving Islamic manuscripts. This course will explore the origins and the journey of the Birmingham Qur’an from the Islamic heartlands, the significance of the Birmingham Qur’an, the methods used to determine its age and how it is cared for at Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. Learn how to identify features of Qur’an manuscripts and how they influenced the arts of the book in Islamic manuscript culture. You will also learn more about the Mingana collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts and their relevance to the 21st century.
What topics will you cover?
Week 1 The Journey of the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript; How the radiocarbon dating of the manuscript became a worldwide news sensation; The significance of the dating and its origins
Week 2 The Qur’an and the Arts of the Book; How the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript relates to the development of the Arabic written tradition; Qur’an manuscripts and Arabic calligraphy; The Arts of Qur’an manuscripts and Islamic manuscript culture
Week 3 Using radiocarbon dating to date manuscripts; Modern technology in the research and analysis of historic manuscripts; Techniques and preservation methods in the conservation and care of historic manuscripts; The value of primary historical sources as a valuable resource for research
Week 4 The Birmingham Qur’an and other historic manuscripts of the Mingana collection; The Islamic Arabic & Persian manuscripts in the Mingana collection held in the Cadbury Research Library as a collection of international importance; The relevance of the Birmingham Qur’an and other manuscripts to the contemporary world, local communities, researchers and academics; The ethics of collecting from different cultures
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you'll be able to...
- Explore and understand the historic and cultural significance of the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript dating
- Develop an appreciation of the religious, social and community importance of the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript
- Engage in the journey of the Birmingham Qur’an from the Islamic heartlands to Birmingham University
- Investigate the features of the Birmingham Qur'an manuscript and understand how they relate to the Arabic written tradition
- Demonstrate an ability to trace developments in Arabic script, calligraphy and the decorative arts used in Qur'anic manuscripts
- Assess the benefits of research through consulting primary source materials
- Explore and appreciate the size, variety, and importance of the Mingana collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts
- Debate the morals and ethics of western collecting from other cultures
- Evaluate and consider the relevance of historic manuscripts to the contemporary world
- Reflect on how radiocarbon dating and modern technology can be used to date and analyse manuscripts
- Compare and identify techniques and preservation methods used to care for historic manuscripts
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Last updated February 13, 2018