Next Wednesday, 14 January, a book launch and manuscript viewing will be held in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at 5pm.
McGill-Queen’s University Press has just published The Herbal of al-Ghafiqi. A Facsimile Edition of MS 7508 in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, with Critical Essays, edited by F. Jamil Ragep (Director of McGill’s Institute for Islamic Studies) and Faith Wallis (McGill, History and Classical Studies/Social Studies of Medicine).
The manuscript in question is exceptional: a 13th-century illustrated copy of the treatise on materia medica by a physician and scholar from al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia), Abū Jaʿfar al-Ghāfiqī (d. ca. 1165 CE).The Osler manuscript has 468 primary entries for mainly herbal, but also mineral and animal, drugs. It also includes around 2200 secondary entries that provide synonyms in a staggering assortment of languages, including Greek, Sanskrit, Syriac, Persian, Berber, Old Spanish, Latin, Coptic, and Armenian, reflecting the international character of medicine and pharmacy at the time. Complementing the facsimile edition are six essays by eminent scholars who deal with the physical features and history of the manuscript, the philological complexity of the text, Ghāfiqī’s sources, the Andalusian as well as the larger global context of the herbal, and the illustrations accompanying the text.
The production and dissemination of the Ghafiqi facsimile would not have been possible without the support and generosity of McGill’s Class of Medicine of 1961. Thank you.