ITSEE Honorary Fellow, Dr Alba Fedeli, has been invited to deliver the 4th Annual Ibn Rushd Lecture at the Muslim Institute in London.
In her lecture, 'Finding the Oldest Qur'an in the World', on 1 June 2016, Dr Alba Fedeli will talk about her discovery of the early date of the Birmingham Qur'an. The lecture series at the Muslim Institute aims to explore the contemporary resonance of Islam's intellectual history in honour of the medieval polymath from Cordoba, Ibn Rushd (Averroes). During her doctoral research into early Qur'anic manuscripts, Dr Fedeli recognised among the materials held by the University of Birmingham's Cadbury Research Library two parchment leaves of an early text written in the hijazi script; carbon dating of the parchment to the 7th Century then suggested that these may indeed be fragments of one of the oldest known manuscripts of the Qur'an.
Images of the manuscript (Mingana Arabic 1572a) are available in the ITSEE-created Virtual Manuscript Room, while the manuscript itself is currently on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 3 August 2016.
Alba's doctoral thesis, completed at ITSEE in 2014, can be found on University's etheses website. Digital images of the Qur'anic undertext of the Mingana-Lewis palimpsest held in Cambridge University Library and containing portions of two early Qur'ans, probably copied in the seventh or eighth century CE, have also recently been published online in the Cambridge University Digital Library accompanied by Dr Fedeli's painstaking reconstruction and diplomatic transcription of the Qur'anic text.
Alba is now undertaking postdoctoral research at the Central European University in Budapest exploring the textual relationship of early Qur'anic manuscripts with technical support provided by members of ITSEE. She has recently presented her research at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion and the Center for Quranic Studies (Kuramer) in Istanbul.