Professor Julia Bray (Faculty of Oriental Studies) will be talking about a pilot project funded by her college, St John’s, to photograph and document some of the annotations made by seventeenth-century Oxford astronomers in Arabic books and manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and St John’s College Library. Some of them were transcribed by Raymond Mercier in the 1990s, but recent technologies give us new means to record them visually, show them to the public and make them more fully accessible for research. Julia will talk about practical issues encountered in the early stages of this new project.
Julia Bray studied Arabic at Oxford and went on to teach at the universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis before becoming AS AlBabtain-Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford. As a fellow of St John’s College, she has access to some of the Arabic astronomical manuscripts collected for Laud early in the seventeenth century, hence this project. As a student of medieval Arabic literature, subjects she works on include Arabic picture poetry, the medieval Arabic history of emotions, life writing, and the problem of translating emotions conveyed in literature in a historically reliable way for readers who do not know Arabic.