The archive of Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle contains 116 manuscripts from the 16th to 18th centuries in
Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish. Two groups can be distinguished according to their origin:
MENA region manuscripts (61) and manuscripts of European origin (52). The first group contains Qurʾāns, Qurʾān
commentaries and prayer books as well as works on Islamic law, Islamic history, mysticism, logic, philology,
lexicology and poetry by well-known authors. The second group includes mainly Bible translations and
translations of Christian scriptures, dictionaries, grammars, calligraphic exercises and copies of famous works
of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman-Turkish poetry and literature.
The manuscripts came into possession of the Glauchaschen Anstalten in Halle by very different routes: In the
course of the 18th century, Oriental manuscripts were gifted to the director of the Halle Orphanage, August
Hermann Francke, and his successor, his son Gotthilf August Francke (1696-1769), to the Collegium Orientale
Theologicum or the Institutum Judaicum et Muhammedicum. For the most part, these manuscripts were looted in the
17th century during the Turkish Wars waged by Austria and Russia against the Ottoman Empire. Some manuscripts
were sent to Halle from Venice by Wilhelm Christian Schneider (1678−1725), a member of the Collegium Orientale,
on the recommendation of the Christian Syrian Salomon Negri (1670−1729), who worked as an Arabic teacher and
translator in Halle in 1702 and 1715. In 1760, the Glauchaschen Anstalten received a magnificently designed
Qurʾān manuscript from Calcutta from Johann Zacharias Kiernander (1710−1799), a missionary to India from Halle.
In an effort to promote the ideas of Halle Pietism throughout the world, in the first decades of the 18th
century scholars from Halle produced the first dictionaries, conversation books and grammars for the Oriental
languages Arabic and Persian, as well as for the Indian languages Tamil and Telugu.
The Oriental manuscripts of the Francke Foundations were completely re-catalogued by Dr. Erika Pabst from
2001-2003: Erika Pabst,
Orientalische Handschriften im
Archiv der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle
, Halle/Saale 2007.
The manuscripts are recorded in an
can also be searched via the
Additional information on the collection and holdings can be found here:
Friedrich August Arnold und August Müller,
Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften der Bibliothek des Hallischen Waisenhauses. Besonders abgedruckt
aus dem Programm der Lateinischen Hauptschule
, Halle 1876. Reprint in: Fuat Sezgin (Hg.), Beiträge zur
Erschließung der arabischen Handschriften in deutschen Bibliotheken Bd. 3, Frankfurt/Main 1987.