Some preliminary thoughts on the question of medieval qāḍī court archives

At the moment, I am enjoying Marina Rustow’s recently published tome The Lost Archive. Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue. The author is speaking to a number of points which interest me, but today I will concentrate on her discussion of Hallaq’s argument about archiving at qāḍīs’ courts.

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The archival biography of MS TCD 1514

Manuscripts have their own biographies. And those are not defined by their respective points of creation nor by the place where they end up. A book bio can be much more topsy-turvey or bodacious, depending on how you want to frame it. And often enough, we can only reconstruct parts of such a biography, exactly because they became embroiled in their own adventures at different points. This much is certainly true for the item which today is referred to as MS 1514 in Trinity Library, Dublin.

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