The European Qur’an: Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion (1150-1850)

The European Qur’an: Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion (1150-1850)

The European Qur’an: Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion (1150-1850)

The European Qur’an. Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1150-1850 (EuQu) is a research program funded by the European Research Council (ERC). This description is based on the project proposal submitted to the ERC and approved for financing.

EuQu will rewrite the history of the European Qur’an (c.1150-1850), placing European perceptions of the Qur’an and of Islam into the fractured religious, political, and intellectual landscape of the period. We will argue that the Qur’an plays a key role not only in polemical interaction with Islam but also in debates and polemics between Christians of different persuasions and that it is central to the epistemological reconfigurations that are at the basis of modernity in Europe.

We speak of the “European Qur’an” to emphasize the significant role of the Muslim holy book in different intellectual and cultural debates over this period in different parts of Europe, from Iberia to Hungary.

The Qur’an is deeply imbedded in the political and religious thought of Europe and part of the intellectual repertoire of Medieval and Early Modern Europeans of different Christian denominations, of European Jews, freethinkers, atheists and of course of European Muslims. We will study how the European Qur’an is interpreted, adapted, used, and formed in Christian European contexts – often in close interaction with the Islamic world, as well as with the Jewish populations living in both Christian and Islamicate regions.

We will study the various aspects of this European phenomenon in a multidisciplinary way, paying particular attention to:

• the Qur’ans which Europeans bought, collected and copied
• the Qur’ans they translated and printed in Arabic and in translation, often using Muslim exegesis (tafsir) and Arabic grammars and dictionaries
• the Qur’ans which Muslim minorities living in European Christian lands copied, interpreted, translated into local vernaculars, often in Arabic script (aljamía)

Our project is built on the conviction that the Qur’an has played an important role in the formation of early modern European religious diversity and identity and continues to do so. It is our objective to present a comprehensive historical assessment of this role.

In order to do this, we propose:

1) To document the circulation and dissemination of Arabic Qur’ans and translations of the Qur’an (in manuscript and in printed editions).
2) To assess the ways in which the Qur’an was exploited in religious, political, scholarly and cultural discourse in medieval and early modern Europe.
3) To engage in knowledge-transfer, communication and public engagement throughout the duration of the project.

More information on: Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CSIC)

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