Arabic, Hebrew, and other Oriental manuscripts of Edward Pococke

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Pococke MSS. Pococke 1-17, 19-28, 30-286, 288-365, 367-453; MSS. Pococke Adds. 2 (R), 6 (R), 7-9 (R)
  • Dates of Creation
      12th-17th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian, Coptic, Persian, Syriac, Geez, Turkish, and Malay.
  • Physical Description
      454 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

The collection contains over 400 volumes, chiefly Arabic (c. 270), but also Hebrew (over 100), Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Malay, Persian and Turkish (14), and Syriac (12). The Arabic component is strong in biography, history and philology, and contains a number of medical works; belles-lettres, poetry and philosophy are represented to a lesser degree. Two notable items are the Book of Roger by Arab geographer al-Idrisi (fl 12th century), dated 1553 (MS. Pococke 375); and an illustrated manuscript of the fables of Bidpai, copied in Syria in 1354 (MS. Pococke 400).

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Pococke (1604-91) was the first Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford University, and later Regius Professor of Hebrew. He spent five years in Aleppo as chaplain to the Levant Company, and a further three years in Constantinople. See the Dictionary of National Biography for details.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

Edward Pococke's oriental manuscripts were purchased by the Library in 1692.


Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series, with references to the oriental and other manuscripts (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, nos. 5328-747.

The manuscripts are also summarily described in the card catalogue, arranged by language, located in the Oriental Reading Room.

J. UriBibliothecae Bodleianae codicum manuscriptorum Orientalium catalogus pars prima (Oxford 1787). See the Arabic Christian, Arabic Mohammedan, and Coptic sections.

A. Nicoll Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Orientalium Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars secunda, Arabicos complectens (Oxford, 1835). See the Arabic Christian and Arabic Mohammedan sections.

A. Neubauer and A.E. Cowley Catalogue of the Hebrew manuscripts in the Bodleian library, and in the College Libraries of Oxford, 2 vols., Catalogi Codd. MSS. Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars xii, (Oxford, 1886-1906), mainly vol. 1. More recently, a 'Supplement of Addenda and Corrigenda', which has to be used in conjunction with Neubauer's Catalogue, was published (Oxford 1994).

Robert Payne Smith Catalogi Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars vi: codices Syriacos, Carshunicos, Mendaeos, complectens (Oxford, 1864).

E. Sachau, H. Eth and A.F.L. Beeston Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindstn, and Pusht manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1889-1953), vols. 1-3.

A. Dillmann Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae, pars vii. Codices Aethiopici (Oxford, 1848).

Sukias Baronian and F.C. Conybeare Catalogue of the Armenian Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (Oxford, 1918).

Richard Greentree, and Edward Williams Byron Nicholson Catalogue of Malay manuscripts and manuscripts relating to the Malay language in the Bodleian library (Oxford, 1910).

Alternative Form Available

The Hebrew manuscripts have been microfilmed by the Institute for Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in Jerusalem. They are also available at the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York.


Colin Wakefield 'Arabic manuscripts in the Bodleian Library: The Seventeenth-Century Collections' in G.A. Russell, ed., The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England (Leiden, 1994), pp. 128-46.