Addis Ababa—In a dramatic academic move revealed this week thirty-five internationally renowned scholars of Ethiopian studies, representing no less than seventeen countries, have urged the importance of Ethiopian manuscripts, and have signed an Ethiopian Manuscript Manifesto supporting the initiative of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and its Society of Friends in building up a comprehensive archive of photographic reproductions of such manuscripts.
The scholars come from the principal centres of Ethiopian studies world-wide: Austria, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The scholars declared that the study of Ethiopian manuscripts is
virtually all fields of Ethiopian studies, secular as
well as religious, and literary. They urge in particular the
importance of manuscripts for the study of
i.e. pages at the beginning or end of a manuscript, which in many
cases contain historical information on land charters, marriage
settlements etc., as well as for textual study of the documents
themselves, and for the history of Ethiopian art.
According to a manifesto sent to Addis Tribune the scholars are aware that numerous Ethiopian manuscripts are to be found scattered in museums and libraries, as well as in private possession, all over the world, and urge that microfilm or other photographic copies of such manuscripts be deposited in the Institute of Ethiopian Studies library.
We, scholars of Ethiopian history and culture, are deeply conscious
of the importance of Ethiopian manuscripts for virtually all fields of
Ethiopian studies, secular as well as religious, and literary, the
international scholars said in the manifesto.
The scholars said they have realised further that for textual study, for the study of marginalia, and for the study of art, it is essential to consult more than one copy of any particular manuscript.
We are convinced that Ethiopian studies can greatly be advanced by
the establishment of a comprehensive collection of manuscript
reproductions, in a single archive where they can be consulted, and
compared, by all interested scholars, irrespective of nationality,
The Scholars endorsed the request by the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, and by its Society of Friends, for financial support to establish a more comprehensive photographic manuscript archive.