In Other Words: The Ethics of the Translator in 17th-century al-Andalus. The Perspective of Aḥmad Ibn Qāsim al-Ḥaǧarī al-Andalusī

in Oriente Moderno
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This study focuses on a particular aspect of the Translation Studies or Dirāsāt al-tarǧamah, i.e. the ethics of the translator.

Starting from the analysis of concepts like “cultural otherness” or “linguistic hospitality”, theorized by Antoine Berman, Lawrence Venuti and Paul Ricoeur, and concerning the translator’s process of mediating between languages and between cultures, it will be taken into account the specific case of a muslim traveller and interpreter, Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Ḥaǧarī al-Andalusī (d. 1051/1641), author of the Kitāb Nāṣir al-dīn ʿalà l-qawm al-kāfirīn, who was asked, by a Christian authority (the Archbishop of Granada), to translate some Arabic manuscripts.

In such a context, the act of translating highlights not only the problem of hermeneutics and inter-religious dialogue, as interpretation of a different text and a different faith’s language, but also the problem of ethic relationships inherent in encountering the Other.

In Other Words: The Ethics of the Translator in 17th-century al-Andalus. The Perspective of Aḥmad Ibn Qāsim al-Ḥaǧarī al-Andalusī

in Oriente Moderno

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When in 1588in order to build a Cathedral the old minaret of the former Friday Mosque of Granada called Torre Turpiana was demolished they found a box containing a little table with an image of the Virgin Mary a cloth a bone and a parchment with a text in Latin Arabic and Spanish. Then in the Valparaiso Hills they found also the “Libri Plumbei” (the Lead Books) metal foils written in strange characters in addition to other relics. After a long trial the relics (ashes and bones of Saint Cecilius and his disciples) were declared authentic and the Bishop of Granada Don Pedro Castro founded where the Roman city of Ilipula once stood the Sacromonte’s Abbey in order to guard and take care of the relics of the evangelists martyred at the time of the Emperor Domiziano. Since they were discovered the place became a centre of pilgrimage. On this subject see among others Rodríguez Cabanelas D. El morisco granadino Alonso Del Castillo. Granada Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife 1965; Cabanelas D. “Intento de supervivencia en el caso de una cultura: los libros plúmbeos de Granada”. Nueva Rivista de Filología Hispánica 30 (1981) p. 334-358; Wiegers G. “The ‘Old’ or ‘Turpiana’ Tower in Granada and its Relics according to Ahmad b. Qâsim al-Hajarî ”. In: Gyselen R. (ed.). Sites et monuments disparus d’après les témoignages de voyageurs. Res Orientales viii Leuven Peeters Publishing 1996 p. 193-207.

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