Syriac manuscripts, some collected by James Dawkins

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Dawkins 1-60; MSS. Auct. E. 4. 22-4
  • Dates of Creation
      11th-16th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Syriac, Modern Greek (1453-), and Arabic.
  • Physical Description
      63 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Chiefly Syriac manuscripts, some collected by James Dawkins, dating from the 11th century, the majority being 15th and 16th century. There are also a number of Arabic manuscripts, some being written in the Syriac script (Carshuni), and a few Greek manuscripts.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Dawkins (1722-57), of St. John's College, Oxford, accompanied Robert Wood (1717-71) on his travels in the East. The greater part of his manuscript collection was probably acquired during these travels. 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

In 1759 Henry Dawkins presented his brother's manuscripts to the Library.


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

Other Finding Aids

Brief descriptions are given in 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. III, nos. 16233-92.

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

Fuller descriptions of all the manuscripts are in Robert Payne Smith Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae, pars vi: codices Syriacos, Carshunicos, Mendaeos, complectens (Oxford, 1864).