maandag 26 februari 2018

Mosque-Church of Pec on the cover of CMR vol. 9

In the monumental series, Christian-Muslim relations, a Bibliographical History the 17th century is described in four volumes of about 1000 pages each. Volume 9 is the last one (published after 10 and 11). It is on Western and Southern Europa: Spain and Portugal, France, Italy, Germany and Central Europe (mostly Hungary and Austria).
The cover of the book shows a nice image: it is of a mosque in Pec (Hungary), built in 1543 as a mosque, under the Ottoman administration. It was turned into a church when the Habsburgs took the place in 1686 but remained also used as a mosque until 1868 when only Christian worship was allowed.
I visited the place in 1995, when just south of Pec the wars in former Yugoslavia disturbed this region. At that time the history of religious change already was shown inside the church: in the left side, just in front of the altar, there was an Arabic calligraphy where the opening verses of the Qur'an, al-Fatiha were shown, on the right side the Latin text of the Christian creed.
Now I saw also that the cross and the crescent are united on top of the dome of the building. nice choice!
The book as whole has many interesting entries. Jan Slomp  gives the most recent theories about the 'Gospel of Barnabas' which had possibly an Italian version before the better known Spanish. but still, it is seen as a work by a Morisco in polemic with Christianity. AndrĂ© du Ryer, an early translator of the Qur'an (1647)  has found his description, as well as Vincent de Stochove, adventurer, pilgrim to Jerusalem and one of the few people from Belgium in this series of studies. Levinus Warner is here put in the German section. He was born in Lippe, Germany and went to Leiden to study Arabic, Persian and some more eastern languages. He lived in Aleppo and Istanbul to buy manuscripts for Leiden university and died there too, while his collections is still the backbone of the Leiden collection of Arab Manuscripts. the book is a mix of people with admiration for the Muslim World, besides fervent polemicists. This book against proves the strength of the format for the whole project: attractive biographies, summaries of the content of books and finally good bibliographies.

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