TRANSLation: Arabic – Persian – Turkish

The Emmy Noether Junior Research Group (2022–2028)

Inner-Islamic Transfer of Knowledge within Arabic-Persian-Ottoman
Translation Processes in the Eastern Mediterranean (1400–1750)

Translation processes played a central role in the formation of the Ottoman Empire in the early modern period. Against the background of confessional-political polarisation in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, a multitude of works were increasingly received, translated and commented upon. Therefore, using a multidisciplinary approach, this junior research group is investigating the transregional transfer of knowledge between 1400 and 1750 holistically for the first time. In doing so, the focus lies on translation as a concept, process and product in a large portion of the Islamic world. The aim is to reveal the central role of Ottoman-Turkish translations of texts in Arabic and Persian as part of the dissolution processes of cultural and literary ambiguity between Sunni and Shia Islam, without a clear understanding of which the intellectual-historical developments in the region cannot be fully comprehended and appreciated.

By bringing together research approaches from Oriental/Middle Eastern studies, translation studies and material philology, the group will not only close significant gaps in the current state of research but also replace the current, too narrowly defined concepts of translation with a new understanding of translation that better reflects cultural history. This applies, in particular, to the function of translation in the context of ideological self-positioning and confessional demarcation. The further development of literary norms by translators, clients and recipients will also be examined across different types of text. Thus, our four major projects and two associated projects investigate translations within different genres: the major projects focusing on (1) mirrors for princes and historiography, (2) biography and hagiography, (3) encyclopaedia, cosmography and geography, and (4) hadith will be complemented by two associated projects focusing on (5) mystical advice literature and (6) Koranic exegesis.

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