The Catholic University of America

Aaron Butts, assistant professor, semitics, was quoted in a Catholic News Service story on the donation of Ethiopian prayer scrolls (related video posted within story). See below.

Couple donates Ethiopian religious manuscripts to Catholic University

From: Catholic Philly
Date: Feb. 10, 2017
Author: Mark Pattison


... What makes the manuscripts valuable is that they’re handmade, according to Aaron Butts, an assistant professor of Semitic languages and literature at Catholic University. What makes them rare, he added, is that such texts are rarely seen outside Ethiopia, and that the East African nation’s rainy season often renders the books and scrolls unusable or illegible after repeated use. That so many texts — most of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, with a few even older — still survive, and in a usable condition, he told Catholic News Service, is “amazing.”

“Every one of them is a treasure,” Butts said.


The donation makes Catholic University the holder of the fifth largest collection of Ethiopian Christian manuscripts in the United States, and the largest collection of Ethiopian Islamic manuscripts outside of Ethiopia.

Butts said Gerald Weiner had hoped to collect holy books from Ethiopian Judaism, but “when he realized how few were available, he started collecting books from Ethiopian Christianity and Islam.” ...


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