Lexical Choice and Rhetorical Expression in Ignazio Lomellini’s 1622 Translation of and Commentary on the Qur’an

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Qur'an, Jesuit, Translation, Anti-Muslim, Ignazio Lomellini, Counter-Reformation


Animadversiones, Notae ac Disputationes in Pestilentem Alcoranum is a unique document housed in the University of Genoa library and consisting of the entire text of the Qur’ān in Arabic, a Latin translation of same, and extensive commentaries and marginalia in Latin, with a few short passages in Arabic and Hebrew. The document is dated 1622 and has heretofore received little attention from scholars. Although Animadversiones had none of the impact of other early Latin translations of the Qur’ān, this text is of considerable value as an example of how early Western Christian scholars of the Qur’ān grappled with lexical, syntactical and exegetical problems. This article examines a series of lexical choices made by Lomellini and touches on some of his exegetical discourses, his intended audiences, and possible sources and informants. Special attention is given to the tension between Lomellini’s mission to propagate the Catholic faith and his desire to produce a translation faithful to the meaning of the original.

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