MATERIAL: Paper
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 165 x 111 mm
COMPONENTS: 145 leaves; catchwords on every leaf; single column of 22 lines of black naskh; red rubrics; headings in larger ornamental script; contemporary tooled leather over pasteboards.
CONDITION: Wanting a few leaves from beginning, else complete; watermark indistinct and partial but involving large capital P in Roman script; occasional marginalia; scuffed; split at extremities, but strong in binding; modern pencil foliation in correct right-to-left direction (and followed here); tears to edges of a few leaves; some small stains and scuffs, else good condition.
ITEM ID: 4764
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Orthodox Christian Breviary in Arabic

DATE
Year: 1777
Decade: 1770s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)
Notes: Dated 14 March 1777

Orthodox Breviary in Arabic, decorated manuscript on Western paper.

This strange codex was most probably produced in the Byzantine world by a scribe for whom Arabic was a second language. The Arabic here is competent but clumsy in places, and the date is given in Arabic script following the Christian Calendar rather than the Hijri (the Islamic lunar calendar). The watermark is European, and the copyist or his patron presumably took his paper-stock to the Near East with him (an example of use of Western paper for a book that was sent back to Europe). The content here is highly suggestive that it was used for practical preaching to the Arabic speaking populace of the region. While a connection to the Carmelite Order cannot be established with certainty, they returned to Mount Carmel in modern Israel only a few decades before the present book was written, and were involved in just such activity.

The text is that of the Orthodox Breviary, and contains prayers and liturgical readings for the Calendar year. It opens with weekly prayers, beginning imperfectly with prayers for midnight on Saturday, and followed by prayers for midnight on Sunday and the other days of the week. The Breviary proper then begins, with liturgical readings for various dates following the Calendar from September onwards. To this is attached the liturgical office of the Sacred Weeks for the last ten Qanun. This last word translates as law, and this may mean the Ten Commandments. The volume ends with prayers for the canonical hours, and for all the months of the year.