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Confessionalisation and Erudition in Early Modern EuropeAn Episode in the History of the Humanities$
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Nicholas Hardy and Dmitri Levitin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266601

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266601.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

Language of Paradise

Language of Paradise

Protestant Oriental Scholarship and the Discovery of Arabic Poetry

(p.395) 10 Language of Paradise
Confessionalisation and Erudition in Early Modern Europe

Jan Loop

British Academy

This chapter discusses the discovery of Arabic poetry in Western Europe in the context of Protestant Arabic studies of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The piece centres on the work of the Dutch Orientalist Albert Schultens (1686–1750). His interest in Arabic poetry was driven by the idea that it preserves some of the characteristics of the primeval language and that it can help us understand the original meaning of the Hebrew texts of the Bible. The essay argues that in spite of its shortcomings, Schultens’ work is a significant moment in the history of oriental studies. It stimulated an entire generation of young scholars in Protestant Northern Europe; and his comparative study of Semitic languages, his concepts of the primeval language and its transmission as well as his great interest in the poetry of the East still resonate in early Romantic approaches to oriental poetry.

Keywords:   Arabic studies, Hebrew studies, Bible, Albert Schultens, Protestantism, poetry, etymology, linguistics, Enlightenment

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