The University is extremely fortunate to have been entrusted with the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts by the Edward Cadbury Trust. The collection consists of over 3,000 manuscripts and associated artefacts, one of which is the The Birmingham Qur’an Manuscript.
Encompassing Islamic, Christian and Jewish texts, and representing numerous languages including Arabic, Syriac, Persian, Greek, Ethiopic and Sanskrit, the collection brings together writings from diverse cultures and religions, with artefacts dating from 2000 BCE up to the 20th century.
This stunning collection was brought together in the 1920s and 1930s by a researcher called Alphonse Mingana, with funding from Edward Cadbury, a chairman of Cadbury Brothers and Quaker philanthropist who was one of the founders of the Selly Oak educational colleges in Birmingham.
In 2011, the Mingana Collection was transferred to a stunning new home in the Cadbury Research Library, the University’s purpose built home for Special Collections, which has also been generously supported by the Edward Cadbury Trust. The exceptional quality and significance of the Mingana Collection was recognised in 2007 when it became a ‘Designated Collection’ of national and international importance. Despite its significance, the Collection has been widely unexplored. A small proportion of the Collection is available to see online in our Virtual Manuscript Room at www.vmr.bham.ac.uk. Most of the manuscripts, however, have not been systematically researched or digitised.
Manuscripts form an important part of the cultural heritage of the Middle East. They are invaluable tools for research, shedding light on the transmission of knowledge, scholarly networks, and intercultural exchange. Manuscripts are voices from the past that tell us more about the communities that preserved them. They can only talk, however, if they are preserved, protected, and made accessible.
With your support, the University of Birmingham will be able to provide greater access to its Middle Eastern manuscript collection through digitisation and an online catalogue. Help us to investigate the Collection, unlock its potential and share our treasures with the world.
To make a donation to support our research into the Mingana Collection, please visit our online giving page or contact our fundraising office on +44(0)121 414 8894