Encounters with the Orient in Early Modern European Scholarship (EOS)

Project Participants

This Collaborative Research Project (CRP) aims to document the scholarly European encounter with Oriental culture between c. 1500-1800. This is a mo- mentous cultural encounter, initiated and driven by religious and scholarly interests, and resulting in a profound transformation of European values. ‘Orient’ is used to refer to the religious area of Islam, Eastern Judaism and Christianity. Interest in this area arose from Scriptural Studies and theological and mission- ary concerns with the Eastern Churches and Islam. The project will explore how the Orient changed from being a source for Christian truths to being an object of cultural studies. The three main objectives will be 1) to describe the scholarly and religious incentives for this encounter between Europe and the Orient; 2) to document the exchange of knowledge, ideas, values and material objects this encounter stimulated in the early modern period, and 3) to explore the institution- al, conceptual and religious transformations which the encounter initiated in theology and Biblical studies, in the teaching and learning of Arabic and other Oriental languages, in literature and poetry, and in historical and anthropological thinking in general. It will result in the production of three monographs, two peer-re- viewed articles, podcasts, online documentations and online-proceedings of the conferences. Highlights of the outputs will be a database of teachers of Arabic, as well as an anthology and reference work of literature inspired by the translation of The Arabian Nights. The CRP will be implemented through a series of work- shops, exhibitions and public presentations, bringing together the expertise of the Project Leader and the Principal Investigators, the strengths of their respective institutions, and public bodies such as the Literaturhaus in Berlin and the Leiden Museum of Antiquities. The organisational hub of the CRP will be the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) at the Warburg Institute, where both the Project Leader and his deputy, Jan Loop, are based.

Associated Partners: 

AP-1: Mr Wim Weijland, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden/National Museum of Antiquities, NL, W.Weijland@rmo.nl

AP-2: Mr Ernest Wichner, Literaturhaus Berlin, DE, wichner@literaturhaus-berlin.de


Dr Arnoud Vrolijk, Curator of Oriental Manuscripts and Rare Books, Leiden University Libraries, vrolijk@library.leidenuniv.nl

Dr Richard van Leeuwen, Lecturer in Islamic Studies, University of Amsterdam, R.L.A.vanLeeuwen@uva.nl