The Semitics/ICOR Library was established to support the teaching and research activities of the Department of Semitic & Egyptian Languages & Literatures and its Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR). The library holdings reflect the twofold interests of the department: the languages and thought of the Bible and the Ancient Near East; and the languages, literatures, and history of the Christian Near East.
|Henri Hyvernat (1858-1941), Arthur A.Vaschalde, C.S.B. (1871-1942), Patrick W. Skehan (1909-1980); Edward P. Arbez, S.S. (1881-1967) at the Semitics Department, 108 Mullen Library, May 27, 1939.|
The library contains some 45,000 volumes of monographs and periodicals. Its nucleus is the private library (ca. 20,000 volumes) of Msgr. Henri Hyvernat (1858-1941), Coptic scholar and founder of the department and Institute. The various collections of the Semitics/ICOR Library provide for different research emphases within the broad spectrum of Near Eastern studies, including pre-Islamic epigraphy, biblical studies, Syriac patristics, medieval Christian-Muslim apologetic, and Byzantine-Coptic papyrology, to name a few. The library's collections of Coptic, Syriac and Christian Arabic materials are especially significant. The history of early western scholarship on the Christian Orient is well represented here. The Semitics/ICOR Library is rich in early Catholic imprints from the sixteenth century onward. Its collection of "Mosul imprints" from the nineteenth-century printing presses of the Dominican Mission in Iraq deserve special mention. These Syriac and Arabic books, important for the history of printing in Iraq, are significant as well for the study of the Syriac and Arabic Bible. The Semitics/ICOR Library houses an extensive collection of travel literature on the Near and Far East spanning the sixteenth-nineteenth centuries.
Department and Institute research collections add another dimension to the library. They include antiquities devoted to ancient writing in its various early manifestations: Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, coins from Syria-Palestine, Coptic ostraka. The collections boast holdings of Egyptian and Coptic papyri, and some 100 manuscripts in Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Coptic, Ethiopic, Persian, Samaritan, Syriac, and Turkish. There are also some 1,200 Coptic, Syriac, Arabic and Hebrew manuscripts in facsimile (photographs, microfilm, microfiche).
The Semitics/ICOR research collections include nineteenth-century photographs of sites in the Middle East, and more than 600 glass lantern slides and negatives of antiquities and monuments. The Library houses the original casts, photographs, and other materials from the Catholic University-Harvard University expedition to Serabit-el-Khadim (Sinai) in 1930. The "Proto Sinaitic" inscriptions discovered there are interesting for the study of early Semitic alphabetic writing.
It is only within the past century that Coptic and Syriac studies have come into their own as academic disciplines. The Semitics/ICOR research collections offer a unique view of the history of Coptic and Syriac scholarship in the United States during this time. Scholarly resources for Christian Oriental studies available during the careers of the first and second generations of department faculty often were inadequate to meet their working needs. Access to Coptic manuscripts, for example, was difficult for scholars because of the fragmented and geographically scattered condition of many manuscripts. Hyvernat and other members of the Semitics department prepared a number of research tools and finding aids. Many of these materials, never published, remain useful today.
Visitors to the Semitics/ICOR Library will find much of interest in the other CUA Libraries special collections: the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives (e.g., the Henri Hyvernat papers), the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the Oliveira Lima Library (e.g., early printed books about the Portuguese missions in India), and the Canon Law collection in Mullen Library.
|Syriac Incantation Bowl. CUA Hyvernat H156.|
|Evangelium Sanctum Domini Nostri Iesu Christi. Romae, Typographia Medicea, 1590 [i.e. 1591]. Editio princeps of the Gospels in Arabic. Open to beginning of the Gospel according to Luke. Woodcuts after designs by Antonio Tempesta (1565-1630).|
Semitics/ICOR monographs and periodicals are variously arranged according to Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal, and ICOR (a Dewey variant) classification schemes, and other local arrangements. Only a small part of the library collection is bibliographically accessible through the WR:LC Catalog or through the University Libraries card catalog (2d floor Mullen Library). Retrospective holdings are listed in the National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints with the location symbol DCU-H [H for Hyvernat]. An author entry card checklist and a shelflist can be consulted in the Semitics/ICOR Library. A project is now underway to provide online bibliographic records of all Semitics/ICOR Library books and periodicals in WRLC Catalog.
Semitics/ICOR research collections are accessible through published and unpublished sources and finding aids. Online finding aids are being added to the library web page.
|Pentecost. Miniature from CUA Hyvernat Armenian MS 2. Gospel Book. 1628.|
Semitics/ICOR reference and periodical collections complement the holdings of CUA's Religious Studies and Humanities Services. Relevant subject areas include: Semitic and Egyptian languages and literatures; Hebrew Bible and Old Testament philology; papyrology; Christian Oriental Studies (Arabic/Classical Armenian/Coptic/Geez Ethiopic/Old Georgian/Old Nubian/Syriac); Islamic studies in general, with good coverage of early Islamic theology and philosophy, and of Muslim-Christian relations in their historical and modern contexts. The Semitics/ICOR Library receives some 230 print and online periodicals. Current and bound print periodicals are shelved alphabetically by title in room 033.
Use the Journal Title Search for journals, newspapers and magazines available through CUA.
Researchers have access to the databases in the Semitics/ICOR Library. For a list of other computerized databases available through the library system select CD-ROMs and In-house Databases. For Internet resources in Semitic and Christian Oriental Studies select the library's Internet Researcher Guide.
|Ancient Near Eastern cylinder seal. Enlarged photograph of seal impression. CUA Hyvernat #2 .||Ancient Near Eastern cylinder seal. Enlarged photograph of seal impression. CUA Hyvernat #3 .|
Photocopy facilities are available in the Semitics/ICOR Library. Copy cards can be purchased on the 2d floor of Mullen Library. Materials may be photocopied in accordance with the limits of the Copyright Act, and with library policies for fragile, damaged, oversize, and valuable materials. Microfilm and microfiche readers are available in the Semitics/ICOR Library; microfilm and microfiche reader/printers are available on the 2d floor of Mullen Library.
|Canon Table. From CUA Hyvernat Armenian MS 2. Gospel Book. 1628.||Officium simplex septem dierum hebdomadæ, iuxta usum Ecclesiae Maronitarum. Iussu S. D. N. Innocentii X Pont. Max. Romæ, Typographia Sacræ Cong. De Propaganda Fide, 1647.|
The Catholic University of America is located at 620 Michigan Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C. 20064. The Semitics/ICOR Library is located on the garden level (Rooms 032-038) of the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library on the university's campus. Room 035 is the entrance. The Semitics/ICOR Library houses the Department of Semitic & Egyptian Languages & Literatures and its Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR). Department classes, workshops and conferences are scheduled in the library rooms. The rooms also contain offices and work areas. The library is open to researchers 9:00AM-5:00PM, Monday-Friday, except for university holy days/holidays. Staff limitations and department/institute use of the library rooms make it advisable to call first. It is recommended that first-time visitors make an appointment for an introduction to the library. Scholars who want to consult the research collections (e.g., manuscripts, antiquities, archival resources) are requested to make an appointment.
Select this option to see a list of Mullen Library hours.
Easter Break Schedule:
Closed Thursday, April 21-Monday, April 25
Monica J. Blanchard
|Kitab Kalila wa-Dimna in Turkish. Miniature from CUA Hyvernat Turkish MS 3. 18th/19th cent.|
An Introduction to The Semitics/ICOR Library
Introductions to the Semitics/ICOR Library are offered at the beginning of the Fall and Spring academic semesters. Sessions meet in room 35 Mullen Library for 50 minutes. Please confirm to email@example.com that you plan to attend a given session at least two days before that session. The Fall 2009 schedule of sessions (revised Aug. 28, 2009) is listed below:
Library Research Workshops
These workshops focus on electronic resources useful for research.
Course-Related Library Sessions and Individual Consultations
Arrangements also can be made with the curator for course-related library sessions and individual consultations.
Recommendations for Semitics/ICOR Library acquisitions can be sent to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Henri Hyvernat and Paul Müller-Simonis made a survey of cuneiform inscriptions in Armenia, Kurdistan, and Mesopotamia in 1888-1889.
The published account of their work and travels, Du Caucase au Golfe Persique a travers l'Armenie, le Kurdistan et la Mesopotamie, appeared in 1892. It was the first book published by The Catholic University of America Press.
Expedition photograph of Hyvernat and Müller-Simonis (holding hat).
CONTRIBUTORS: Monica J. Blanchard (Curator, Semitics/ICOR Collections)