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Preface in:

Camilla Adang, Sabine Schmidtke (Ed.)

Contracts and Controversies between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Pre-Modern Iran, page 11 - 14

1. Edition 2010, ISBN print: 978-3-89913-738-5, ISBN online: 978-3-95650-682-6, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783956506826-11

Series: Istanbuler Texte und Studien (ITS), vol. 21

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Preface The relations between the Muslim majority and members of the Jewish and Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire as well as in pre-modern Iran received a series of new impulses from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards, which were reflected in intensified encounters in the intellectual and literary, as well as the social and political spheres. The most important impulse in the Ottoman Empire for a new social and intellectual flourishing of the Jews in particular was the immigration of Jewish exiles from the Iberian Peninsula in the aftermath of the Spanish Reconquista of 1492, while by the mid-17th century it was especially the sweeping but short-lived messianic movement that arose around Shabbetai Zvi (1626-1672) that had a major impact on the Jewish communities within the Empire and beyond, and that affected relations between Jews and Muslims. In Safavid and Qajar Iran, by contrast, it was the increasing presence of Christian, initially mostly Catholic, missionaries that constituted the main impetus for interreligious intellectual encounters. From the 19th century onwards they were joined by Protestant missionaries, mainly from Britain. In the Ottoman Empire, where native Christians of different denominations were numerous, the foreign missionary effort seems to have had less of an impact than in Iran. On the other hand, the Jewish communities in the latter country did not experience the same kind of renaissance enjoyed by their coreligionists in the Ottoman lands. The purpose of the present volume is to bring into focus new textual materials that shed fresh light on the intellectual and social exchanges between Muslims and non-Muslims both in the Ottoman lands and in pre-modern Iran and to foster intensified cooperation between scholars from a variety of disciplines. One type of source that has hitherto been insufficiently explored is Muslim polemical and apologetical literature and the response it elicited. In more than one respect this genre of writings can supply information about the intellectual as well as the social position of the religious minorities. The arguments used, the events and persons referred to (even if at times only obliquely), as well as the literary sources quoted allow us to draw conclusions concerning the position of the respective minority. Moreover, the statements with which the authors preface or justify their works, the multiplication of polemical and apologetical tracts and the proliferation of manuscript copies of these same tracts, inform us about the socio-historical contexts in which these texts were written, received and subsequently reproduced. Judith Pfeiffer discusses a detailed refutation of Judaism written in Ottoman Turkish that was composed during the late 16th, early 17th century and attributed to Yūsuf Ibn Abī ʿAbd al-Dayyān, a Jewish convert to Islam. The comparatively large number of extant manuscripts and their geographical distribution suggest that the tract, which has so far completely escaped the attention of scholars, was very popular. Camilla Adang offers a translation and analysis of another © 2016 Orient-Institut Istanbul PREFACE 12 evidently widely received polemical tract by a Jewish convert to Islam, al-Risāla al- Hādiya, by one ʿAbd al-Salām al-Muhtadī. The introduction to the text includes a brief conversion account by the author who refers to Bāyazīd II (reigned 886/1481-918/1512) as the sultan ruling at the time of composition. Additional polemical tracts by converts from the Ottoman lands are offered in editio princeps by Monika Hasenmüller and Sabine Schmidtke. The first is a comprehensive tract against Christians by one Darwīsh ʿAlī, composed at the beginning of the 18th century; the second is a shorter epistle entitled Risālat Ilzām al-yahūd fīmā zaʿamū fī l-tawrāt min qibal ʿilm al-kalām by one al-Salām ʿAbd al-ʿAllām, a former Jew who apparently also wrote at the time of Bāyazīd II. Dennis Halft’s contribution is a detailed study of the history and transmission of a popular 17th century Muslim polemical reply to Pietro Della Valle’s Epistola ad nobilem Persam, Lawāmiʿ-i rabbānī dar radd-i shubha-yi naṣrānī by the Persian Twelver Shīʿī author Sayyid Aḥmad ʿAlawī. The contribution by Reza Pourjavady and Sabine Schmidtke likewise focusses on a Twelver Shīʿī text that was widely received among Iranian readers although it originated in Iraq; on the basis of most extant manuscripts of the account of Baḥr al-ʿUlūm’s (d. 1797) famous debate with the Jews of Dhu l-Kifl the transmission of the account is studied and critical editions of the original Arabic version and its Persian translation are given. Paolo Lucca discusses the messianic movement of Shabbetai Zvi from a highly original point of view: that of two Armenian Christian chroniclers writing at the time of the events. An English translation is added to the Armenian texts, which show one of the authors to be sympathetic with the disillusioned Jews. Elisabetta Borromeo offers a close analysis of a series of 17th century nomination documents for Catholic bishops and archbishops in the Ottoman realm and discusses what these documents tell us about the relations between the Ottoman authorities and the official representatives of a religious minority. Heleen Murre-van den Berg analyses a chapter in the history of the Nestorian Syriac Church of the East, viz. its relations with its Muslim neighbours as reflected in a number of mostly unpublished texts in East-Syriac mainly from the 19th century. Rudi Matthee provides a detailed discussion of the changing attitudes of the Safavid rulers and the Iranian elite to Iberian missionaries. Although at first the latter were admired and appreciated as intellectuals and mediators between Iran and Catholic European rulers, support for them waned as the political and religious reality in Iran changed. Vera Moreen examines a number of representative, yet little studied texts in Judaeo-Persian from the Safavid period for what they tell us about the attitudes of Iranian Jews towards Islam and Muslims. Some of the papers were presented at a workshop funded by the European Science Foundation and held in June 2007 at the German Orient Institute in Istanbul, and whose theme was “The Position of Religious Minorities in the Ottoman Empire and early modern Iran”. Most of the manuscript materials for the contributions of Camilla Adang, Monika Hasenmüller, Judith Pfeiffer, Reza Pourjavady and © 2016 Orient-Institut Istanbul PREFACE 13 Sabine Schmidtke were purchased with the support of a research grant from the Gerda Henkel Foundation. We thank all the above-mentioned institutions and organizations for their generous financial support. We also thank the Süleimaniye Library and especially its director, Dr. Emir Es, for having granted us the permission to reproduce MS Fatih 2994, ff. 1b-2a on the title page of this volume. In addition, we thank Wilferd Madelung for his kind help with some of the editions contained in this volume, Jan Thiele and Josephine Gehlhar for their editorial assistance, Thomas Breier (Ergon) and Barbara Pusch (Orient Institut Istanbul) for seeing the volume through the press, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments. The Editors © 2016 Orient-Institut Istanbul © 2016 Orient-Institut Istanbul

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References

Abstract

Judith Pfeiffer: Confessional polarization in the 17th century Ottoman Empire and Yūsuf İbn Ebī ʿAbdü’dDeyyān’s Keşfü’l-esrār fī ilzāmi’l-Yehūd ve’l-aḥbār / Camilla

Adang: Guided to Islam by the Torah: The Risāla alhādiya by ʿAbd al-Salām al-Muhtadī al-Muḥammadī /Sabine Schmidtke: Epistle forcing the Jews [to admit their error] with regard to what they contend about the Torah, by dialectical reasoning (Risālat ilzām al-yahūd

fīmā zaʿamū fī l-tawrāt min qibal ʿilm al-kalām) by alSalām ʿAbd al-ʿAllām. A critical edition / Monika Hasenmüller: Die Beschreibung Muḥammads im Evangelium.

Eine muslimische Polemik gegen die Christen aus

dem osmanischen Reich (Anfang 18. Jhdt.) / Paolo Lucca: Šabbetay Ṣewi and the Messianic Temptations of Ottoman Jews in the Seventeenth Century According to Christian Armenian Sources / Elisabetta Borromeo: Le clergé catholique face au pouvoir ottoman. Les brevets de nomination (berât) des évêques et des archevêques

(17ème siècle) / Heleen Murre-van den Berg : Apostasy or ‘a House Built on Sand’. Jews, Muslims and Christians in East-Syriac texts (1500-1850) / Rudi Matthee: The Politics of Protection. Iberian Missionaries in Safavid

Iran under Shāh ʿAbbās I (1587-1629) / Dennis Halft:

Schiitische Polemik gegen das Christentum im safawidischen Iran des 11./17. Jhdts. Sayyid Aḥmad ʿAlawīs

Lawāmiʿ-i rabbānī dar radd-i šubha-yi naṣrānī / Reza Pourjavady

– Sabine Schmidtke: Sayyid Muḥammad Mahdī alBurūjirdī

al-Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s (d. 1212/1797) debate with the Jews of Dhu l-Kifl. A survey of its transmission, with critical editions of its Arabic and Persian versions / Vera

B. Moreen: Iranian Jewish History Reflected in JudaeoPersian Literature