Thursday Seminar: The Orientalist, the captive and the Jesuit: reading the Qur’an in seventeenth-century Florence.


Thursday, January 19, 2017, 6:00pm


Gould Hall

This seminar is an exercise in micro-philology and global history. Through the analysis of a very short manuscript, Pier Mattia Tommasino aims to disentangle the complex and intertwined relations between European Orientalists, Italian academics related to the Accademia della Crusca and the Accademia del Cimento, and Muslim scholars circulating in Tuscany during the second half of the seventeenth century. Despite its fragmentary nature, the material, linguistic and doctrinal feautures of this miscellaneous manuscript shed light on the cosmopolitan scholarly practices at the court of Ferdinand II. This document, Dr. Tommasino argues, offers an in-depth understanding of a crucial moment in the development of European Orientalism.

 Pier Mattia Tommasino (PhD, Scuola Normale Superiore, 2009, VIT 2010-2011) is Assistant Professor of Italian at Columbia University. His first book, L’Alcorano di Macometto. Storia di un libro del Cinquecento europeo was published in 2013 (Bologna, il Mulino). He organizes The Italian and Mediterranean Colloquium (IMC), a permanent seminar on the relations between Italian history and culture and the Mediterranean world.