Symposium at Berlin State Library

Christoph Rauch's picture

Arabic manuscripts and Oriental studies: Symposium on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein.


The international symposium “Studies on Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815-1905): Manuscripts, Politics and Oriental Studies” will be held at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin from 19th to 21st February 2015. (Venue: Potsdamer Strasse 33, 10785 Berlin)

The symposium will be inaugurated Thursday, 19th February 2015, 6:00 PM with a keynote lecture by François Déroche (Paris):The Qur'anic collections acquired by Wetzstein”; and a musical-literary program by Claudia Ott and her ensemble. Furthermore, some original documents and manuscripts related to Wetzstein will be exhibited at the opening.


If you plan to attend the conference please register before 31st January at the secretary of the Oriental Department, Mrs. Muenchow,


The symposium is generously supported by the Fritz Thyssen-Stiftung and the Verein der Freunde der Staatsbibliothek e.V.; and is organized in cooperation with the Oriental Institute of Leipzig University.


Here is the list of contributions in alphabetical order:


Ibrahim Akel (Paris), Wetzstein in Arabic sources and remarks on some manuscripts from his collections

Kaoukab Chebaro and Samar El Mikati El Kaissi (Beirut), Manuscript ownership and readership at the American University of Beirut at the turn of the 20th century

Alba Fedeli (Cambridge), Tischendorf and the Mingana Collection: Manuscript acquisition and Qur’ānic Studies

Ludmilla Hanisch (Berlin), Semitic studies at the University of Berlin during Wetzstein’s lifetime.

Michaela Hoffmann-Ruf (Bonn), The Wetzstein collection at Tuebingen University Library – its history, its content and its reception in Oriental Studies

Ingeborg Huhn (Berlin), Some remarks concerning the official correspondence of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein

Robert Irwin (London), The Arabist and Consul in Damascus Sir Richard Burton and the problematic nature of his translation of The Thousand and One Nights

Hars S. Kurio (Raisdorf/Berlin), On Wetzstein’s draft of a translation of the Quran

Boris Liebrenz (Leipzig), Wetzstein as a broker of Arabic prints in Syria

Michael Marx (Berlin), Codex “Wetzstein II 1913” and the textual history of the Qur'an

Claudia Ott (Beedenbostel), Wetzstein and the Manuscripts of Arabian Epics

Christoph Rauch (Berlin), Orientalists at the Royal Library in Berlin and the big Islamic cataloguing projects of the 19th century

Helga Rebhan (München), Collecting Islamic manuscripts at the Munich Court Library in the 19th century

Walid Salih (Toronto), The Fantastic literature in medieval Islam: “Wetzstein II 1173” Kitāb al-ʿazamah as an example

Anke Scharrahs (Dresden), Living in mid-19th century Damascus – insights into lifestyle of foreigners and locals in Damascus‘ Old City

Florian Schwarz (Wien), The circle around Ibrahim al-Kurani in Medina and its Syrian connections

Pavel Teptyuk (St. Petersburg), Maqāmāt by Muḥammad al-Qawwās (Manuscripts at Berlin, Saint-Petersburg and Cambridge collections)

Jan Just Witkam (Leiden), Wetzstein's manuscripts with popular stories

The detailed schedule will be published in January 2015.



Christoph Rauch
Head of the Oriental Department
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz -
Potsdamer Str. 33
D-10785 Berlin
Tel +49-(0)30-266 43 5800