Date range: 16th-19th centuries (bulk 17th-18th centuries)
Number of items: 45 items.
45 manuscripts on parchment and paper, of which ten codices can be dated precisely (1590-1742). This collection, while small, is quite representative of Ethiopic literature, comprising mainly biblical and liturgical manuscripts, and stories of saints and martyrs.
Of particular note are:
- Ethiopian MS 1, a rare 17th-century collection of biblical passages supposedly referring to the Messiah and intended to prove the divinity of Christ;
- Ethiopian MS 11, 18th-century Homilies in honour of St Michael, containing 32 miniatures in the Gondar style of illumination;
- Ethiopian MS 28, a deed of gift of the Emperor Adbar Sagad, Dawit III (1716-21), to the church of St Michael;
- Ethiopian MSS 29-34 and 38-41, magical scrolls, mainly 19th-century;
- Ethiopian MS 37, a rare mälke' (poem of praise) to Zena Marqos, a 14th-century saint-monk.
The language of the manuscripts is Ge'ez; only a few contain small later additions in Amharic. Ethiopian MSS 1-31 were purchased in 1901 with the Crawford collection, the remainder being acquired subsequently from Moses Gaster and other sources.
- Stefan Strelcyn, Catalogue of Ethiopic Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester (Manchester, 1974).
- Ethiopian MSS 43–45 are described in Stephen Delamarter and Demeke Berhane, A Catalogue of Previously Uncatalogued Ethiopic Manuscripts in England: Twenty-Three Manuscripts in the Bodleian, Cambridge University and John Rylands University Libraries and in a Private Collection, Journal of Semitic Studies, Supplement 21 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).