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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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4 Conclusion



If we count from the year 1397 (indicated by Jan Długosz in Annales seu cronicae incliti Regni Poloniae 965–1480) – the date of the settlement of the newcomers from the Golden Horde in the lands of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania – the Tatars have been contributing to Slavic culture and history for 620 years – individuals who are derived from the Turkish peoples of Eastern Europe and northern Asia. Complete assimilation with the Christian surroundings was expressed in the material and non-material cultural heritage of this ethnic group, which includes both architectural structures as well as a peculiar religious literature, including the third translation of the Qur’an into a European language (i.e. Polish). These monuments of religious writings were developed in conditions which are particular from a historical and sociological point of view – in a multicultural, multilingual Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, in a Muslim community, whose representatives lived in the conditions of a diaspora surrounded by Christians. The aforementioned monuments constitute the most important part of the cultural heritage of the Tatars of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. A huge spiritual, literary and cultural value is attached to these monuments. They constitute testimony to the strong links between the multi-themed culture of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the civilization of Islam, which is expressed in the exceptional combination of seemingly contradictory and mutually exclusive elements but which actually constitute a harmonious whole both in the social life as well as in the literary works...

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