Manuscripts of Medieval Philosophy and Difficult Heritage: The case of MS. Kabul, Aršīf-i Millī Afġānistān, Afghan National Archive, 2295 (ex Private Library of King Zaher Shah 4926)

1 Research Project Grant position
(Deadline September 6th, 2022 13:00 )
History of Medieval Philosophy; Arabic-Islamic philosophy; Avicenna (Ibn Sina); Manuscript Studies
MS. Kabul, Aršīf-i Millī Afġānistān, Afghan National Archive, 2295 is interesting from many points of view. Historically, it contains one of the most ancient, complete and detailed versions of the masterpiece in philosophy written by Avicenna (Kitab al-Shifa', Book of the Cure/Healing): of this work, it reproduces almost the entire scope (more than 5000 pages in the printed current edition) providing extremely precious informations on the scribes that copied it, the scholars that revised the original copy, the owners that consulted of it, and the intellectual environements in which this various activities were performed. From the point of view of the field of analysis, preservation, and promotion of the so-called "difficult heritage", the manuscript in question represents a unique case of a cultural item which followed the vicissitued of recent history, migrating from the Private Library of the former King of Afghanistan Zaher Shah (nr. 4926) to the National Archive of Afghanstan at the time of the Russian invasion, having been digitized under the US adminstration of Afghanistan after the events of 2001, and being now exposed to the uncertainties of the current taliban regime. 
Fortunately a high resolution scan of this manuscript has been obtained by the proponent in the framework of the ERC project PhiBor (see
The fellowship is finalized to provide, for the first time of scholarship, an overall detailed description of this manuscript.
The contract holder will be responsible for a full and detailed description of this manuscript, made on scholarsly standard and inclusive of the images of the most relevant parts of it, devoting special attention to its precise partition and the indentification of the scribes, revisors, owners, and madrasas mentioned in it. The results of the research activity are planned to be published as an article in a specialized journal of Manuscript Studies or History of Medieval Philosophy.
Formal requirements
  • BA in History of Arabic-Islamic Philosophy or equivalent degree in Humanities
Specific requirements
  • Documented competence in history of medieval arabic-islamic philosophy, with special regard to the thought of Avicenna and its posterity, and proven capacity to analyze, contextualize, and describe a manuscript such as the one at stake in the present call;
  • Since the most interesting part of the manuscript is the one dealing with logic, familiarity with Arabic-Islamic history of logic is required. A record of relevant publications is also required;
  • Knowledge of Arabic and Persian;
  • Knowledge of English;
  • Competence in palaeography and codicology;
  • Familiarity with Avicenna's philosophy.
6 months
Gross amount
8.120,00 €
“Calcolo scientifico per le scienze naturali, sociali e applicazioni: sviluppo metodologico e tecnologico”, CUP: D67G22000130001, P0238
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Borsa a progetto - Project fellowship


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