Anonymous Safavid Copy of a European Celestial Map, second half of seventeenth century. Source: Bonhams catalog Islamic and Indian Art, 11 October 2000, p. 37.

Project (2017-)

Cross-cultural Knowledge Transfer through Translation

A cooperative project between the Department of Philosophy and Logic at the University of Seville, PI José-Luis Mancha, and Department 1 of the MPIWG has brought together scholars from a wide range of disciplines and cultures. The project reaches beyond the traditional focal points of medieval translations from Greek into Latin, Syriac, and Arabic or Arabic into Latin and Hebrew. The research project has analyzed institutional, geographical, political, professional, and linguistic conditions of translation processes. While a culture of translation has been traditionally perceived as homogeneous, the project has focused on variations and differences impacting translational practices and the larger culture in which and for which the translations were made.

The results of this project will be presented in two publications. The articles collected for these two publications will reflect on recent research on translations within Jewish communities and their various efforts of institution building, the construction of tales of translation according to legal standards to enable political and juridical “fact finding,” the differences or similarities between Tangut, Chinese, and Uighur translation practices, translation as a cultural metaphor and political enterprise in different parts of the Indian subcontinent, the relation between reading, translation, and educational practices in Japan and China, attitudes of Syriac clerics towards the translation of secular texts, or the invention of translations in competitive environments like the multilingual and multi-faith Abbasid court of the early ninth century. In addition, modern histories of translations of scientific, medical, and philosophical texts have been analyzed with regard to channeling effects due to biased selections of sources.