Sumptuously annotated catalogue of oriental manuscripts

Hamaker, Hendrik Arent. Specimen catalogi codicum mss. orientalium bibliothecae academiae Lugduno-Batavae [...].

Leiden, S. & J. Luchtmans, 1820.

Large 4to (220 x 261 mm). (4), VIII, 264, (2) pp. Contemporary half calf with giltstamped red spine label and sparsely gilt spine. Edges lightly sprinkled in red.

 4,500.00

Only edition.

Pioneering specimen of a catalogue of oriental manuscripts in the Leiden library, with extensive extracts in Arabic, produced by H. A. Hamaker (1789-1835). "Ce spécimen ne contient que douze articles" (Brunet). "The descriptions of a mere twelve items on 238 pages illustrate the diligence with which the author attends to each and every title. Indeed, the final MS, the 'Qamus al-Muhit' of Firuzabadi, is discussed on no fewer than 60 pages. Each author is provided with extensive biographical excerpts with Latin translations, to which are added extremely detailed discussions of scholarly literature. Had Hamaker kept up this method for all the oriental MSS in Leiden, estimated at a number of some ten thousand, he should have wanted about 25,000 pages, not to mention hundreds of pages of indices. It is thus questionable whether Hamaker intended more with his 'Specimen' than to provide an example of an ideality which was to promote his planned catalogue [...]. And yet, had he been able to realize this ideal with the help of other scholars, this would have given to the world a source-based work of reference which would have preserved its value to this day, not superseded either by Brockelmann's 'Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur' nor by Sezgin's 'Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums'" (cf. B. Liebrenz, Arabische, persische und türkische Handschriften in Leipzig [Leipzig 2008], p. 73).

Some creases to paper; binding rubbed and chafed in places. A good copy from the library of the Dutch theologian Christiaan Jacobus van der Vlis (1813-42) with his handwritten ownership on the front pastedown.

Besterman 4352. Brunet III, 26f. & VI, 31385. Cf. Fück 181 (for Hamaker).

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