In June 2019, the Intensive Summer Course on Arabic Codicology: the Islamic Manuscript Heritage in the El Escorial Collection will take place for its sixth consecutive edition. The course is taught by Prof. Nuria de Castilla (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, PSL, Paris), who is also the director, and Prof. François Déroche (Collège de France, PSL, Paris). It also takes benefit from the collaboration of Mr. José Luis del Valle Merino, director of the Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The course is sponsored by the European Research Council (ERC), Project Saadian Intelectual and Cultural LifE - SICLE 670628.
This leading program aims at providing with the knowledge and academic tools for the study and analysis of manuscripts in Arabic script, focusing on a practical approach. We have the privilege of attending the hands-on sessions at the Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (RBME), which hosts the most important collection of manuscripts in Arabic script in Spain and one of the most prominent in Europe. The course is designed for historians, art historians, philologists, documentary makers, antiquarians, curators, bibliophiles, conservation specialists, etc., preferably with a Master’s degree.
The Arabic Manuscript Collection of El Escorial (c. 2,000 codices) is composed mainly by the manuscripts that belonged to the Library of Sultan Mulay Zaydān. These manuscripts were incorporated to the Library of Philip III of Spain in 1612. This library is one of the few in of the Muslim world that keep virtually intact. It is considered the most important collection of Arabic manuscripts in Spain and one of the most relevant in Europe.
The course not only promotes the knowledge of the collection, but also the creation of international nets and the exchange of experiences among all the attendees. With an average of 100 applications per edition, the course has had attendees from the five continents. In the last edition, the course was attended by students from Argentina, Austria, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Singapore, Spain, Tunisia, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
A first Alumni Meeting (see News) took place in Paris in October 2019.