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Document Details :
Title: Johannes Theunisz and 'Abd al-'Azīz
Subtitle: A Friendship in Arabic Studies in Amsterdam, 1609-1610
Author(s): VAN DALEN, Dorrit
Volume: 43 Issue: 1 Date: 2016
In the winter of 1609-1610, the Moroccan diplomat 'Abd al- 'Azīz b. Muḥammad spent four months in the home of the Mennonite Hebraist and Arabist Jan Theunisz in Amsterdam. The written reflections of their discussions on religion and everyday matters present an extraordinary example of the shifting attitude towards Islam in the seventeenth century: a development from medieval rejection of Islam as ridiculous to a historicizing assessment of Islam in the early stages of the Enlightenment. The two men developed a remarkable cooperation in the study of Arabic, a language for which around 1610 no textbooks were available. Theunisz’ record of their conversations and a glossary which he compiled during these conversations are here for the first time subjected to an analysis which teases out the content and nature of their exchange in the context of early seventeenth-century contact between Christendom and Islam in Western Europe.