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Manuscript of the first treatment of post-Copernican astronomy by a Muslim scholar

Ibrâhim Haqqi, Erzurumlu. Marifetname [The Book of Knowledge and Skills].

[Ottoman Empire], 1235 AH [1819/20 AD].

4to (ca. 180 x 270 mm). 333, (1) numbered ff. Ottoman Turkish on thin, polished, cream-coloured paper. With 12 full-page colour illustrations of scientific diagrams, 2 full-page coloured world maps, 8 full-page coloured tables, 2 full-page coloured illustrations of Mekka and Jerusalem, 5 half-page coloured diagrams, as well as a half-page red and black ink diagram on leaf 19r. Later 19th century half calf with giltstamped spine; cloth covers blindstamped and gilt.

An uncommonly fine, early 19th century manuscript of the famous scholarly encyclopedia, predating by more than a decade the first printed edition, which appeared in Bulaq in 1835. The "Marifetname", or "Book of Gnosis" is a compilation of astronomical, astrological, mathematical, anatomical, psychological, philosophical as well as mystical religious texts. It is famous for containing the first treatment of post-Copernican astronomy by a Muslim scholar.

Ibrahim Haqqi Erzurumi (1703-80) is considered an outstanding figure of 18th century Ottoman Turkey. Based on an immense knowledge of the Sufi branch of Islam as well as his studies in Western science, he devoted himself to the domains of both religion and science, considering both a means of approaching God.

Binding rubbed and bumped at extremeties; interior exceedingly well preserved. Altogether a very appealing copy with the numerous illustrations showing fine detail.


Cf. Zenker I, 1709. F. Gülen, "Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism," p. 106, n. 69. Z. Virk, "Science and Technology in Ottoman Sultanate".