Preaching Christianity in the Muslim Ilkhanate: On the manuscripts of Persian Bibles from Fourteenth Century Tabriz

With Andrew Peacock

Zoom Webinar

Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Tuesday 7 February 2023 05:00 PM (CET)


The study of nomads’ manuscript cultures has understandably and rightly focused on the vast range of material related to Islam in one way or another. Yet even after conversion to Islam, the Ilkhanate remained a profoundly multi-religious society, both owing to the presence of substantial non-Muslim indigenous populations in areas such as Anatolia, and the Mongols’ tolerance of the presence of western missionaries in the Ilkhanate, in particular the archbishopric of Sultaniyya. For the activities of these missionaries we are normally reliant entirely on the evidence of Latin sources, but the current paper tries to offer a new perspective by examining two Bible translations or arrangements into Persian that can be proved to have originated in this milieu, currently held in manuscript collections in Istanbul. They offer new insights both as to the role of local Christians in supporting the missionaries’ conversion efforts, and into the transmission of the Bible in Persian.

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