Silent Teachers Turkish Books and Oriental Learning in Early Modern Europe, 1544–1669
Silent Teachers considers for the first time the influence of Ottoman scholarly practices and reference tools on oriental learning in early modern Europe. Telling the story of oriental studies through the annotations, study notes, and correspondence of European scholars, it demonstrates the central but often overlooked role that Turkish-language manuscripts played in the achievements of early orientalists. Dispersing the myths and misunderstandings found in previous scholarship, this book offers a fresh history of Turkish studies in Europe and new insights into how Renaissance intellectuals studied Arabic and Persian through contemporaneous Turkish sources.
This story hardly has any dull moments: the reader will encounter many larger-than-life figures, including an armchair expert who turned his alleged captivity under the Ottomans into bestselling books; a drunken dragoman who preferred enjoying the fruits of the vine to his duties at the Sublime Porte; and a curmudgeonly German physician whose pugnacious pamphlets led to the erasure of his name from history.
Taking its title from the celebrated humanist Joseph Scaliger’s comment that books from the Muslim world are ‘silent teachers’ and need to be explained orally to be understood, this study gives voice to the many and varied Turkish-language books that circulated in early modern Europe and proposes a paradigm-shift in our understanding of early modern erudite culture.
Earliest printed books on Turkey: Georgievits and Postel on the Turkish language
The advent of scholarly books on Turkey: Leunclavius’ Ottoman Annals and History, Crusius' Greece under Turkish Rule with Scaliger's Annotations
First printed grammars of Turkish: Megiser and Du Ryer
Oriental studies in Leiden: The manuscript Turkish dictionaries of Deusing and Golius
A fine library: Golius and his Turkish books
Appendix I: Scaliger’s Turkish marginalia
Appendix II: Three Turkish translations of Psalm 6
Appendix III: Paratextual material in Deusing’s and Golius’ Turkish dictionaries
Appendix IV: Golius’ Turkish correspondence