Longterm Research Project (2017-2025)

From Cultural Translation to Interreligious Controversy: Jerome Xavier’s Āyena-ye ḥaqq-namā in Mughal India and Safavid Persia

June 2017 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish Jesuit Jerónimo de Ezpeleta y Goñi (1549-1617), known as Jerome Xavier, who spent the major part of his life as a missionary with the Portuguese Padroado in India and two decades in the Persian-Indian cultural milieu of the Mughal court (1595-1614). This project focuses on his opus magnum, the Āyena-ye ḥaqq-namā (The Truth–revealing Mirror; Persian manuscript dated 1609) and its critical reception in Safavid Persia.

Jesuitischer Priester
© The Walters Art Museum

This theological work is interesting not only due to its embeddedness in Indo-Persian religious culture and its efforts of Christian cross-cultural translation and interreligious engagement in Mughal India. But also in view of the subsequent inter-religious Shi’i-Catholic polemical writings it sparked upon reaching Safavid Persia, most outstanding in the works of the Isfahani Shi’ite scholar SAYYID AḤMAD ‘ALAVĪ (d. 1644) on the one hand and Catholic Islam and Arabic scholar FILIPPO GUADAGNOLI (d. 1656) in Rome on the other – followed by a number of literary and interreligious polemical theological repercussions over the 17th century across these same worlds.
The project seeks to pursue a three-fold outcome: The first CRITICAL EDITION of this 500 folios handwritten Persian text, based on 7 manuscript recensions, together with a substantial introduction; an ENGLISH TRANSLATION of the text; and a COMMENTARY, centring on aspects of cross-cultural as well as religious translation and on interreligious controversy in the text and its reception history on the other.
Additionally, the institute will coordinate an international INTERDISCIPLINARY EXPERTS CONFERENCE on the project (28-30 October 2019; information coming soon; contact: manteghi[at]uni-muenster.de) in order to map the trajectories of current and future research on the Āyena-ye ḥaqq-namā, especially on its fascinating journey of critical reception and INTER-TEXTUALITY OF THE KEY FIGURES’ PROMINENT WORKS involved in 17th cent. Shi’i-Catholic theological controversy. The conference, comprising junior postdoc and senior experts in current Jerome Xavier research, aims at developing an international research group for an interdisciplinary project, involving Comparative Theology, Translation Studies, Islamic studies, and Religious Studies, on that so far unexplored area of research, combined with an intertextual Digital Humanities project.


Coordination and Researchers:
Professor Dr. Norbert Hintersteiner
Dr.Dr. Haila Manteghi Amin

From cultural translation to interreligious controversy
© manteghi

Conference of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”
From cultural translation to interreligious controversy - Jerome Xavier’s (1549-1617) Engagement with Mughal India and Safavid Persia

28-30 October 2019
Kapuzinerkloster /Kapuzinerstraße 27-29/48149 Münster

The 400th anniversary of the Spanish Jesuit Jerónimode Ezpeletay Goñi(1549-1617) marked the beginnings of a new research initiative at the Institute of Missiology and the Study of Theologies Beyond Europe at the University of Muenster, on his legacy of cross-cultural and interreligious engagement with Mughal India and (posthum) with SafavidPersia through his Āyena-ye ḥaqq-namā(The Truth–revealing Mirror; 1607).


This conference not only commemorates some of Jerome’s major contributions by presenting these recent achievements in Jerome Xavier scholarship, but also seeks to gather the expertise to help orient the new project and create an international postdoc research group for it at the University of Muenster.

Flyer Jerome Xavier Conference [en] [en]