PHILADELPHIA, PA          The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies are delighted to announce the first recipient of the combined Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies-Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Fellowship in Jewish Manuscript Studies and the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar Fellowship. Y. Tzvi Langermann, Professor of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an internationally recognized authority on Hebrew and Arabic medicine and the study of scientific manuscripts, will be in residence in the summer of 2015 to research and catalog a 15th-century Sicilian medical miscellany containing texts and notes written in Judeo-Arabic, Hebrew, and Arabic. The manuscript is a recent addition to the Penn Libraries’ extensive collection of medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts. It is believed to have been compiled by David ben Shalom, a Jewish physician active in Sicily at this time.

Of particular interest is a 15th-century copy of a treatise written in Judeo-Arabic by the 10th-century Persian physician ʻAlī ibn al-ʻAbbās Majūsī (also known by the Latinized name Haly Abbas) entitled Kāmil al-sināʻah al-tibbīyah or Complete Book of the Medical Art. In addition to this fundamental treatise on medical practice in the Arabic world, the manuscript also contains fragments of an unknown 15th-century Hebrew medical treatise and 19th-century notes in Arabic, Samaritan, and Hebrew. These notes were likely added to the manuscript when it was rebound in Ottoman Palestine.  The journey of the manuscript through time and across geographies is a striking testament to the multicultural currents underlying the practice of medieval and early modern medicine the Mediterranean world.

The SIMS-Katz Center Fellowship in Jewish Manuscript Studies presents an exciting opportunity to join the two institutions together in an effort to bring scholars to the Penn Libraries to research the university’s rich holdings in Judaic manuscript material. Fellows will share their discoveries and expertise at a public lecture to be held during or after their fellowship. Details of Professor Langermann’s lecture in the fall of 2015 will be announced in August.

For more information, please contact Lynn Ransom, Curator of Programs, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at lransom@upenn.edu or 215-898-7851.