The Republic of Arabic Letters By Alexander Bevilacqua

“Fascinating articulate, insightful, and learned…A profound illustration of the capacity of academics to bridge barriers of culture, and the ability of human minds to tolerate different opinions without condemning them. .”–Maya Jasanoff, the author of The Dawn Watch and Liberty’s Exile

In the 17th and 18th century, a pioneering group comprised of Christian academics laid foundation for modern Western knowledge of Islamic civilization. They created the first precise version of the Qur’an into the European language, identified the different branches of Islamic sciences and arts, and composed Muslim history by using Arabic sources. 

The Republic of Arabic Letters recreates this process, and reveals how influential of Catholic as well as Protestant academics in the Enlightenment’s secular knowledge of Islam along with its writing tradition

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Drawing from Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, and Latin sources Alexander Bevilacqua’s rich and varied intellectual history explores the pathways –both physical and mental Christian scholars traveled to find understanding, study, and master Arabic manuscripts.

 The knowledge they produced was profoundly influenced by indigenous Muslim practices, particularly Ottoman ones. The translations, compilations and historical works they produced attracted such notables such as Voltaire as well as Edward Gibbon, who not only took in the facts of these works , but also weaved them into the structure of Enlightenment thinking.

The Republic of Arabic Letters is a proof that the Western efforts to better understand Islam and its intellectual and religious practices was not a result of an agenda of secularism, but rather through the scholarly dedications of a small segment of Christians. They renounced traditions and passed on an knowledge of Islam to the modern West.

  • ASIN : 0674975928
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover :360 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780674975927
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674975927
  • Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
  • Dimensions :6.5 by 1.25 9.75 inches 9.75 inches

Alexander Bevilacqua

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