Prof. Christian Høgel (Lund), The Early Greek translation of the Qur’an: Arabo-Greek Intercultural Exchanges

8 November 2023 18:15 Lecture/talk

Religious Roots of Europe Open Lecture 2023

A Greek translation of the Qur’an was produced at an unknown date and place before 870 CE. The translation, which covered the whole Qur’anic text, has not come down to us in full, but can be studied through the 82 fragments found mainly in a polemical treatise, the Refutatio by Niketas Byzantios, but a few also in the Byzantine formula for converts from Islam generally referred to as the Abjuratio. From the polemical treatise, the Refutatio, it is clear that the author Niketas had no Arabic and was not the translator. We therefore do not know who this was, and judging from the nature and quality of the translation, there is no reason to believe that the translation was produced for polemical reasons. Apart from being of much interest for the history of interaction between the Greek and the Arab world, the fragments of the translation also display a very particular type of Greek. This in itself suggests an origin outside the Byzantine world, but as will be shown, we find reasons for some of the language features in the translation technique employed by the translator. The translation is an important document for Arabo-Greek contacts, for literary exchanges (in addition to other types of contacts), and possibly also for the transition from Greek to Arabic in the Umayyad administration.

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8 November 2023 18:15



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