This week, the School of Divinity hosts the first conference of the Global Network for Christian-Muslim Studies, Reframing Christian-Muslim Encounter : Theological and Philosophical Perspectives.
In a new display in New College Library, we can see some Christian-Muslim encounters in texts from New College Library’s collections. These texts record Christian reactions to the Muslim encounters Turkish military campaigns brought close to home, and the preparations of Christian missionaries to venture into Muslim territories.
At the same time as Martin Luther was challenging the authority of the papacy using scripture, the military campaigns of the Turks were approaching closer into Europe. Luther approached this encounter with Islam by inquiring into Islamic texts, which culminated in his involvement in this publication in Latin of the Qur’ān.
The first European edition of the Arabic New Testament, this text was edited from a manuscript in the Leiden library said to have been written in the monastery of St. John in the Thebaid, in 1342, with partial collation of other manuscripts.
This first edition of an Arabic Bible was sponsored in part by the British and Foreign Bible Society and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The choice of printer, Sarah Hodgson in Newcastle upon Tyne, far from the centre of British printing in London, is unusual. New College Library holds three copies of this translation. This copy is part of the Paterson Bible Collection, formed by missionary and bible translator John Paterson (1776-1855) and later the National Bible Society of Scotland.
Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian
With thanks to Janice Gailani and Paul Nicholas, Rare Book Cataloguers.