Encounters witth Orient in Early Modern Scholarship

Project Summary

This project is hosted by: Warburg Institute

Research interests:
Early Modern
Africa, Asia, Australasia, Middle East, United Kingdom
Project period:
09-May-2013 - 30-Sep-2016
Project summary:
This CRP aims to document the scholarly European encounter with Oriental culture between c 1500?1800. The encounter is witnessed in numerous books with titles like Historia Orientalis, Ecclesia Orientalis, Harmonia linguarum Orientalium, Bibliothèque Orientale etc. The range of meanings of the concept ‘Orient’, in early modern European scholarship has never been thoroughly studied. But the ‘Orient’ explored in this context and used as a term in our CRP is, first of all, a Biblical Orient, covering the religious area of Islam, Eastern Judaism and Christianity. Interest in this cultural, religious and linguistic area arose from Scripture Studies and theological and missionary concerns with the Eastern Churches and Islam. These, as far as we can see by now, delineate the early modern concept of ‘Orient’, and also determining our use of the concept. In a number of case studies, conferences, and exhibitions, the project will explore the early modern scholarly European encounter with the Orient. We will pursue three main objectives: 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 institutional, 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.

Management Details

Lead researcher & project contact:

Name Position Institute Organisation Contact
Professor Charles Burnett Professor of the History of Islamic Influences in Europe Warburg Institute charles.burnett@sas.ac.uk