Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2021

Using Muslim Exegesis in Europe in the 12th and 18th Centuries: A Comparative Study of Robert of Ketton’s and George Sale’s Approaches

From the book The Latin Qur’an, 1143–1500

  • Mouhamadoul Khaly Wélé


It is common practice for translators of a same book to assess the work of their predecessors in order, inter alia, to establish their own legitimacy. In 1734 the Englishman George Sale published his translation of the Qur’an, whose objectivity was a turning point in the history of perceptions of Islam in Europe. In carrying out a critical inventory of previous translations, Sale described the text of his compatriot Robert of Ketton, published in 1143 and printed by Theodor Bibliander in 1543, as a work that “deserves not the name of a translation”. Consequently, Sale tried to correct some “mistakes” noticed in the first European translation of the Qur’an. His intention to polish the negative image of Muhammad in Europe was obvious. However, in his criticism of the Latin translation, Sale collided with the hectic plurality of the medieval Muslim exegesis.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
Downloaded on 29.3.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow