Learning Arabic in Renaissance Europe (1505-1624)


Author: Robert Jones
From the first Arabic grammar printed at Granada in 1505 to the Arabic editions of the Dutch scholar Thomas Erpenius (d.1624), some audacious scholars - supported by powerful patrons and inspired by several of the greatest minds of the Renaissance – introduced, for the first time, the study of Arabic language and letters to centres of learning across Europe. These pioneers formed collections of Arabic manuscripts, met Arabic-speaking visitors, studied and adapted the Islamic grammatical tradition, and printed editions of Arabic texts - most strikingly in the magnificent books published by the Medici Oriental Press at Rome in the 1590s. Robert Jones’ findings in the libraries of Florence, Leiden, Paris and Vienna, and his contribution to the history of grammar, are of enduring importance.

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Robert Jones, PhD (1988), London University, SOAS; MPhil (1981) Warburg Institute; Bernard Quaritch Ltd (1984-2005), director Islamic Department; library formation and promotion for The Arcadian Library (with Oxford University Press) and The Heritage Library, Doha. Independent bookselling and research (2006-present).
"There is more in Learning Arabic in Renaissance Europe than there is space here even to hint at. It is a densely argued tour de force..." - Robert Irwin, in: Times Literary Supplement, September 18, 2020
List of Illustrations

Part 1: Learning Arabic in Renaissance Europe (1505–1624)

Introductory Remarks
 1 The Difficulties
 2 The Achievement
 3 Dramatis Personae
 4 Middle Ages to Renaissance: Continuity
 5 Middle Ages to Renaissance: Discontinuity
 6 Spain
1 The Books
 1 Manuscript Acquisition
 2 Arabists Abroad
 3 Agents
 4 Eastern Christians in Europe
 5 The Spoils of War
 6 Vienna
 7 Tunis
 8 Lepanto
 9 Hungary
 10 Piracy
 11 The Value of Plunder to Arabic Studies
2 The Teachers
 1 Captives and Converts
 2 Leo Africanus
 3 Paul Willich
 4 Darwīsh Ibrāhīm
 5 Neophytes at Rome
 6 François de Boulogne
 7 Juan Andrés
 8 ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Muḥammad
 9 Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Ḥajarī
 10 Ḥusayn of Buda
3 The Rules
 1 Preamble
 2 Pedro de Alcalá
 3 Leo Africanus to Nicolaus Clenardus
 4 Guillaume Postel and Teseo Ambrogio
 5 Mid-Century Polyglot Handbooks
 6 Jakob Christmann and Ruthger Spey
 7 The Medicean Grammars
 8 The Medicean Grammars in Europe
 9 Joseph Justus Scaliger and Franciscus Raphelengius
 10 Thomas Erpenius
 11 1620–1624

Part 2
The Arabic and Persian Studies of Giovanni Battista Raimondi (c. 1536–1614)

4  The Alphabetum Arabicum
 1 Introduction
 2 Arabic Script in the Alphabetum arabicum
 3 Arabic Script in other Renaissance Arabic Grammars
 4 Arabic Vocalization. Imāla
 5 Vocalization in the Alphabetum arabicum
 6 Arabic Consonants in the Alphabetum arabicum
 7 Arabic Consonants in other Renaissance Arabic Grammars
 8 Conclusion
5 The Grammars of 1592
 1 The Ājurrūmiyya within the Islamic Grammatical Tradition
 2 The Ājurrūmiyya within the European Grammatical Tradition
 3 The Rome Edition of 1592
 4 The Kāfiya
 5 Conclusion
6 The Liber Tasriphi
 1 Introduction
 2 Arabic Terms Preserved
 3 Translations ad verbum and ad sensum
 4 Postel and the Morphology of the Verb
 5 Conclusion
7 Arabic Grammar Translated in Manuscript
 1 A Note on the Derived Forms of the Verb
 2 Kitāb Miʾat ʿāmil
8 Grammars of Persian Translated in Manuscript
 1 Introduction
 2 Qawānīn al-furs
 3 Other Grammars of Persian
Concluding Remarks

Appendix 1: The Identification of a copy of Bartholomaeus Radtmann’s Introductio in linguam arabicam, Frankfurt a.d. Oder, 1592, now in the British Library
Appendix 2: Arabic Transliteration
Appendix 3: Saltini’s Manuscript Descriptions Extended
Appendix 4: Raimondi on Arabic, Persian and other Languages
Appendix 5: Raimondi’s Latin Translation from Avicenna’s Arabic Canon
Appendix 6: Raimondi’s Grammar and Dictionary List
Appendix 7: Raimondi and the Lead Books of Granada
All interested in cross-cultural influences, East-West Encounters, Orientalism, intellectual history, early modern Europe; the history of grammar; the history of European collections of Islamic manuscripts, early European Arabic printing.