J. Rendel Harris collection
1 Hebraeo-Samaritanus Manuscript
6 Ethiopic Manuscripts
7 Syriac Manuscripts
5 Arabic Manuscripts
3 Armenian Manuscripts
6 Latin Manuscripts
Masoretic Bible (RH 1)
Torah scroll (RH 2)
Torah scroll (RH 3))
Lamentations scroll (RH 4)
Ruth scroll (RH 5)
Esther scroll (RH 6)
Song of Songs scroll (RH 7)
Leviticus leaf (RH 8)
Remains of Hebrew manuscript (RH 9)
Kings leaf (RH 10)
Jeremiah leaf (RH 11)
Jeremiah manuscript (RH 12)
Yemenite Taj (RH 13)
Yemenite Taj (RH 14)
Portion of prayer book (Mahzor) (RH 15)
Misneh Torah: Sefer Yad ha-Hazakah (RH 16)
Perush ha-Merkabah, Targum Ha-Merkabah, and Hekhalot (RH 17)
Sefer ha-Yashar (The Book of Jashar) (RH 18)
Isaac Alfasi commentary on Pesachim chapter III fragment (RH 19)
Rashi commentary on Bereshit fragment (RH 20)
Menorat ha-Ma'or (RH 21)
Esther scroll (RH 64)
Esther scroll (RH 72)
Pentateuch manuscript (RH 22)
Pentateuch manuscript (RH 23)
Prayers and hymns manuscript (RH 23a)
Mazgaba Haymauot manuscript (RH 24)
Andéet ("Disciples") manuscript (RH 25)
Kidan Janagh manuscript (RH 26)
Laha Maryani manuscript (RH 26a)
Vellum manuscript (RH 69)
Peshitta manuscript (RH 27)
Estrangelo manuscript (RH 28)
Late manuscript (RH 29)
Service book (RH 30)
Service book (RH 31)
Service book (RH 32)
Gospels manuscript (RH 33)
Hymn book (RH 48)
Prayer and grammar book (RH 49)
Treatise on speech manuscript (RH 50)
Syriac-Arabic lexicon (RH 51)
Dialogues manuscript (RH 52)
Hymn manuscript (RH 53)
Treatise on theology by Jacob the monastic (RH 54)
Theology manuscript (RH 55)
Treatise on grammar manuscript (RH 58)
Treatise on grammar manuscript (RH 59)
Discourses manuscript (RH 60)
Essays regarding the practice of the Christian faith (RH 63)
Sanjak Koran (RH 34)
Koran manuscript with commentary (RH 35)
New Testament manuscript (RH 36)
Prayers manuscript (RH 37)
List of words in Arabic and Syriac (RH 38)
Book of the Hajj (RH 38a)
Treatise on theology manuscript (RH 56)
Selections from the Gospels (RH 57)
Arabic manuscript (RH 61)
Pentateuch manuscript (RH 62)
al-Juzo al-Awwal min Kitab Mashariz al-Anwar (RH 73)
Hymn book (RH 39)
Phylactery scroll (RH 40)
Portion of a Phylactery scroll (RH 41)
Psalms and Song of Songs manuscript (RH 42)
Gospels manuscript with commentary (RH 43)
Vulgate concordance (RH 44)
Essay on Greek and Roman history (RH 44a)
Leonardo Aretino Bruni manuscript (RH 44b)
Thomas Aquinas manuscript (RH 45)
Peter Vicentius manuscript (RH 46)
Service book leaf (RH 47)
Gasparino Barzizza manuscript (RH 47a)
Gasparino Barzizza manuscript (RH 47b)
Treatise on the Trinity manuscript (RH 65)
Diploma of Nicolas Berolus (RH 68)
Latin manuscript (RH 71)
Poem manuscript (RH 66)
Persian manuscript (RH 67)
Translation of Arabic dictionary (RH 70)
The following collection is composed chiefly of MSS. purchased by me in Egypt, Palestine, and the Lebanon; and they are a gift to the Library of Haverford College by my friend Walter Wood and myself, in the hope that they may become the nucleus of a more extended collection, and may furnish a stimulus to the study both of ancient documents in general, and of the Semitic languages in particular. I have not thought it worthwhile to go into a detailed account of the methods by which this little handful of books was acquired, though there is no doubt that such a record would illuminate many passages in the Hebrew Scripture and the Oriental literature, from the time when Abraham purchased the field of Mamre onwards. Moreover, we have a high example for the less detailed description of the local origins of books in the writing of the late Dr. Tischendorf, whose prizes were usually found 'in the dust of an Eastern Monastery'; so I will simply say that these MSS., trifling collection though they be, have had their share of the dust of Holy Lands and Holy Cities, but that their sanctity is locally anonymous; and I will only ask that those who may examine them will have the grace to believe that they were all acquired by the lawful, though sometimes, tedious, processes of Oriental commerce. The Catalogue is due to the energy of my colleague, Professor Rogers (1890).
According to The Quaker Collection [A Catalogue of Manuscripts (Chiefly Oriental) in the Library of Haverford College by Robert W Rodgers], the original collection contained 47 mss.. The current, supplemented collection is composed of 72 mss. in Hebrew, Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Latin. Included amongst the Hebrew mss. are three Yemenite mss., several scrolls and an especially valuable, illuminate Tanakh from Spain, dated 1266. The Syriac mss. are mostly from the late nineteenth century, from the Western Maronite Church, although we saw at least two eastern Karshuni mss.."
- 1200 - 1890
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
Copyright and Rights Information
J. Rendel Harris
A constant traveler to the Middle East in search of manuscripts, Harris was also a humanitarian who worked for the betterment of the Armenian plight at the hands of the Ottomans. His major scholarly contributions include beginning the study of testimonia where he proposed that early Christian writers drew from one book of Biblical quotations. While working at the John Rylands Library he discovered among the manuscripts he had collected a copy of the Odes of Solomon which had been thought to be lost. Later in life he worked on questions of population migration particularly from Egypt.
(Information culled from local sources. Some information was taken from James Rendel Harris: New Testament Autographs and Other Essays edited by Alessandro Falcetta.)
Robert W. Rogers
(Information culled from local sources. Some information was taken from the Robert William Rogers page on the Drew University History site, which can be found at https://uknow.drew.edu/confluence/display/DrewHistory/Robert+William+Rogers. Accessed 4/18/12)
Wood was an industrialist who was president of the Florence and Camden Iron Works and Director of R.D. Wood Company. He also was treasurer of between thirteen and sixteen utilities and a civil service examiner from 1887 on. Wood was involved in many professional organizations related to engineering and manufacturing as well as civic organizations like the Philadelphia Art Club and the Philadelphia Union League.
(Information culled from local sources.)
80 manuscripts (49 original manuscripts. 31 additional manuscripts added later. )
Existence and Location of Microfilm Copies
[J. Rendel Harris Collection of manuscripts: (chiefly oriental) in the Library of Haverford College]. Philadelphia, Pa.: Microsurance; Presbyterian Historical Society; Presbyterian Historical Association, 1979-1989. 8 microfilm reels: negative; 35 mm.
Reel 1. Hebrew and Hebraeo-Samaritanus ms.: records of The Jewish National and University Library (Jerusalem). (3 parts)
Reel 2. Armenian Ms. #39: records of Professor Avedis K. Sanjian
Reel 3. Bible-Octateuch, in an Ethiopic dialect ... 18th century, Hav. #23
Reel 4. #54. Catalogs of early heretics. Astronomical discourse, Geography, etc.
Reel 5. Syriac Ms. Hav. #55. Cantilena. Hymns.
Reel 6. Judeao [Judaeo]-Spanish Ms., J. Rendel Harris Coll. #18.
Octateuch, in an Ethiopic dialect. Haverford College Library, J. Rendel Harris Collection of manuscripts in biblical literature, no. 23. Collegeville, MN: Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, 1992. 1 microfilm reel; 35 mm.
National Library of Israel; The Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts (IMHM)
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20067 [RH 1]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20068 [RH 9]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20069 [RH 10]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20070 [RH 12, RH 13]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20071 [RH 14]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20072 [RH 15]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20073 [RH 16]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20074 [RH 17]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20075 [RH 18]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20076 [RH 19, RH 20, RH 21]
Mss. R.R. Film No. F 20066 [RH 22]
Scholarly Appraisals of the Collection
This catalog includes an introductory note by J. Rendel Harris, an inventory of the original 49 manuscripts, as well as analyses and transcriptions of select manuscripts. Many of the transcriptions of the Hebrew were later deemed inaccurate.
James Oscar Boyd. The Text of the Ethiopic Version of the Octateuch: With Special Reference to the Age and Value of the Haverford Manuscript. Leyden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Library, 1905.
In 1972, Mordechai Glatzer of the Comité de Paléographie Hebraique surveyed the collection as part of the Hebrew Paleography Project (number D185). Glatzer provided additional descriptive notes which were added to the Rogers catalog.
In 1988, conservator Nicholas Pickwoad rebound the Masoretic Bible (Rendel Harris 1) and wrote a comprehensive report located with the Bible in Special Collections.
In 1991, Arthur Kiron and Uri Melammed from the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies surveyed the collection. Melammed added additional descriptive notes and corrected, in the margins, many of the transliterations in the Rogers catalog. Around this time, portions of the collection were microfilmed and the microfilm was cataloged at the National Library of Israel.
Rachel Beckwith. "Haverford College's Thirteenth-Century Hebrew Bible: A Case Study in Manuscript Attribution." In Manuscripta 42, no. 1 (March 1998): 30-52.
Additionally, in 1996, B. Rachel Beckwith wrote the paper "Haverford College's Thirteenth-Century Hebrew Bible: A Case Study in Manuscript Attribution" which attempts to determine where the Masoretic Bible (RH 1) was written. The paper is kept with the Masoretic Bible.
Moshe Lazar and Robert Dilligan. Seferha-yasar, First Ladino Translation (Haverford College, Ms. Hebr. 18): A Critical Edition. Lancaster, CA: Labyrinthos, 1998.
David Stern. Chosen: Philadelphia's Great Hebraica. Philadelphia, PA: Rosenbach Museum & Library, 2007.
The Masoretic Bible (RH 1) is analyzed briefly on pp. 18-19.
In 2009, Dr. David Cook worked on translations of portions of some of the Hebrew manuscripts in the collection.
In 2012, Steve Delamarter and Jeremy Brown, Fox University, digitized and analyzed the Ethiopic texts for the Textual History of the Ethiopic Old Testament (THEOT) project. Digital images and quire maps available upon request at Haverford.
Halperin, Dalia-Ruth. Decorated Masorah on the openings between quires in Masoretic Bible manuscripts.
- J. Rendel Harris collection, 1200-1890
- David Conners Isaak & John Anderies, with assistance from Bridget Gibbons '13 & Thomas Littrell '15
- August, 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Find It at the Library
Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library
370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US