Utopia, armarium codicum bibliophilorum, Cod. 2 (Codex Pandeli)
Description by Henning Sievert, Universität Zürich, 2009.
(English translation by Anne Marie Austenfeld)
Manuscript title: The Four Gospels in Arabic
Place of origin: Cairo
Date of origin: 1723
Extent: 240 pages
Format: 29 x 21 cm
Foliation: No pagination. Quire marks outside the text area, in black ink.
Page layout: Text is in two columns, 13,5 (6,5 + 0,5 + 6,5) x 20 cm. 21 lines ruled in dry-point. Columns framed with gold and red lines.
Writing and hands:
- Ibrahim b. Bulus b. Dawud al-Halabi, 1723; Jirjis b. Hananiya, 1745.
- Written in a clear Nasḫī script (sometimes lacking complete vowel indicators) in black ink.
- Main text and quire marks black, introductory benedictions, chapter headings and two liturgical remarks in red and blue.
- Decorative script and floral decorations in 18th century Ottoman style.
- Exquisite illustrations portraying the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, together with a total of 43 well-known scenes from the life of Jesus.
Additions: On the back of the last page of text, the Aleppo illustrator and icon painter Jirjis ibn Ḥanāniyā included a note that he had completed the illustrations in September 1745.
Binding: Red leather with gold decorated inner and outer edges and a central rhombus-shaped decoration composed of of vegetable elements.
The title is specified at the end of the Gospel of John: "This is the holy and pure Gospel, the shining and streaming light". This matches the title of the translation of the Gospels by the Maronite Ya ͑qūb ibn Ni ͑ma al-Dibsī (d. 1692) and it also agrees with that of the print edition that was first issued in 1706 by the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Athanasius IV. Dabbās.
Origin of the manuscript:
- According to the colophon at the end of the Gospel of John, this copy was completed by Ibrāhīm ibn Būluṣ ibn Dāwūd al-Ḥalabī in Cairo on Wednesday, July 24, 1723 of the Julian calendar. The corresponding date by Islamic calendar reckoning is indicated as the 2. Dhū l-qa ͑da 1135.