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Dialogue of Scriptures

The Tatar Tefsir in the Context of Biblical and Qur’anic Interpretations


Joanna Kulwicka-Kaminska

This book focuses on Muslim–Christian cultural relations across a number of centuries. As for the methodology, the book represents an intersection of religious studies, linguistics and translations studies. The bases of research are a Tatar tefsir and 19th- and 20th-century printed translations of the Qur’an into Polish. In the period of the Reformation, the Tatar adherents of Sunni Islam conducted the dialogue with Christianity. They translated the Qur’an into Polish already in the second half of the 16th century. They used the Arabic alphabet to record the translation and conferred the form of a tefsir to it. Who were the Tatar translators? Did they break the ban on the translation of the Holy Book of Islam? What sources did they use? How did they translate the Muslim religious terminology? Why is their translation of the Qur’an not familiar to researchers? These are only a few questions which are explored in this work.

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2 The translation of the religious terminology of Islam into Slavic languages in the monuments of Tatar literature in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania


2The translation of the religious terminology of Islam into Slavic languages in the monuments of Tatar literature in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

2.1 The profile of a Tatar translator and the significance of Tatar translations of the Qur’an into Polish421

Although the authors of Tatar translation texts are not known by name, they can be included, on the basis of their legacy, not only in the Tatar intellectual elite, but also in the educated and enlightened elite of the GDL. As has already been mentioned422, they knew not only the Tatar language (Crimean Tatar), but also Turkish (Ottoman Turkish), Arabic and Persian. In addition, they also used Latin, as well as Polish and Belorussian. They were perfectly familiar with the current religious issues, responsive to all polemics and religious disputes. They were well versed in Biblical and Psalter religious literature, both in the religious literature of the Middle Ages, as well as in the literature contemporary with the Renaissance423. A. Konopacki believes that these people belonged to the nobility. This assumption is based on the premise that Tatar writers drew extensively on a wide range of Catholic and Reformation ideas, but in their writings there were no texts or borrowings associated with Eastern Orthodoxy424. I. Winiarska also notes that the Reformation movement found its social support mainly among the noblemen in Małopolska and Lithuania, leading to their multiple conversions and provoking religious disputes425.←121 | 122→

In presenting a profile of a Tatar...

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