Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or. 1878 (University Library, Cambridge University)

Oriental Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This manuscript is comprised of four works, the Testament of Abraham, Testament of Isaac, and Testament of Jacob, and a Homily of St. Ephrem on Abraham and Sarah in Egypt. The Testaments originate from the Second Temple period as supplementary material to the biblical account of three patriarchs with additional legends and exhortations. The work was widely read and an important work for both Jews and Christians. this is a Beta Israel recension of the work but shows editorial work from both traditions. Christian introductory formulae are absent, but Christian allusions were not expunged, including a dubious reference to Athanasius, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria,295-373 as the author of the work. The earliest extant copies of the Testaments are found in Greek, although a Semitic origin cannot be excluded; the Homily was originally composed in Syriac.
ff. 5r-19v
Language(s): Geez
ff. 20r-34r

f. 34r End of the testament of Isaac with the addition of a 5-line invocation by a different hand at the bottom.

Language(s): Geez
ff. 34v-35r

ff. 34r-43v End of the testament of Jacob. 44v invocations as of folio 34r

Language(s): Geez
ff. 44v-55r
Language(s): Geez

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 56 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 11.4 × 7.6 cm.


2 columns, 22-26 lines per page. Folios 1-4and folio56blank.


written in black ink


Leather over wooden boards with full blind decoration on both. Stitched turn-ins at head and tail of spine. Braided leather endbands


Origin: 19th cent.; Ethiopia

Provenance and Acquisition


Donated to Cambridge University by Armbruster, C. H. (Carl Hubert), 1874-1957 on 19 August 1957

Record Sources

Description based on Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library / by Edward Ullendorff and Stephen G. Wright ; with a contribution by D.A. Hubbard.Cambridge University Press.1961 with updates by Jeremy Penner


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures contact Cambridge University Library Admissions. Contact near_eastern@lib.cam.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript


    bookhttp://zotero.org/users/local/VPTDBJud/items/2GNGMD9M Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library / by Edward Ullendorff and Stephen G. Wright ; with a contribution by D.A. Hubbard. EdwardUllendorff Cambridge Cambridge University Press 1961 bookhttp://zotero.org/users/local/VPTDBJud/items/ATRQKIFH Falasha anthology / translated from Ethiopic sources with an introd. by Wolf Leslau. WolfLeslau New Haven New Haven : Yale University Press, 1951. 1951

Funding of Cataloguing



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