Yemeni Manuscript Cultures in Peril
Zaydism, a branch of Shiʿi Islam dating to the eighth century CE, has historic roots in the Northern Highlands of Yemen and the Caspian regions of Northern Iran, and its literary tradition is among the richest within Islamic civilization. The most significant and by far largest collections of Zaydi manuscripts are housed by the many public and private libraries of Yemen, an endangered cultural heritage tradition, currently at risk due to the conflict and warfare in Yemen. Of great importance are also holdings of Yemeni manuscripts that are kept elsewhere. In view of the poor state of scholarship in the area of Zaydi studies, the challenges that result from the significant dispersal of the material are manifold. Yemeni Manuscript Cultures in Peril contributes to the history of books and libraries and their role in the scholastic culture in Yemen, past and present. The contributions brought together in this volume address a wide spectrum of aspects concerning Yemeni manuscript cultures, with some focusing on their history and present state within Yemen and others discussing the collections of manuscripts of Yemeni provenance in Europe and elsewhere. Contributors are: Hassan Ansari, Stefanie Brinkmann, Gabriele vom Bruck, Bernard Haykel, Brinkley Messick, Christoph Rauch, Anne Regourd, Valentina Sagaria Rossi, Karin Scheper, Sabine Schmidtke, Jan Thiele, Daniel Martin Varisco, Arnoud Vrolijk, and Zayd al-Wazir.