|Birth Date:||Fri, Oct 05, 1612|
|Birth Place:||Torcigliano di Camaiore (Lucca)|
|Death Date:||Thu, Feb 04, 1700|
|Main places of activity:||
Marracci's greatest achievement is undoubtedly his bilingual version of the Qur'an, issued in 1698.
Together with the Arabic text and its Latin translation, Marracci provided his readers with an extensive commentary and a theological rebuttal of Islam. In his Praefatio, he declared the controversialist nature of his translation, rallying other Christian scholars in the refutation of Islam by showing its inconsistencies, 'armis suis hostes aggredior' (I attack the enemies with their own weapons). In itself, this approach already constituted a significant break with the tradition of European anti-Muslim polemicists, usually relying on Christian sources for their theological battles.
Besides its flagrant confessional nature, Marracci's translation is the result of his rigorous work as a scholar and as a translator, which brought him to an unprecedented engagement with the Islamic tradition. Both Marracci's version of the Qur'an and the apparatus attached to it draw from an impressively wide variety of sources: from the Muslim manuscript and printed commentaries and glosses he could access in the Vatican libraries to talmudic and rabbinic texts, to previous translations, some of which were by Protestant scholars.
By his own admission, Marracci did not seek to produce a pleasant Latin prose, but was rather concerned with the literal sense of his translation, reconstructing the traditional Sunni interpretation of the text. Nevertheless, his version instilled new life into the studies of the Qur'an and constituted both a turning point and the source of most vernacular translations published until the end of the eighteenth century, meeting a huge success in the United Provinces, Germany, England and France (see Hamilton 2018).
secondary bibliography references
Massimo Rizzi, Le prime traduzioni del Corano in Italia. Contesto storico e attitudine dei traduttori; Ludovico Marracci (1612-1700) e la lettura critica del commentario coranico di al-Zamahsari (1075-1144), L'Harmattan, 2007.
Ziad Elmarsafy, The Enlightenment Qur’an: The Politics of Translation and the Construction of Islam, Oneworld, 2009.
Alexander Bevilacqua, 'The Qur'an Translations of Marracci and Sale', in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 76 (2013), 93-130.
Gianluca D'Errico, Il Corano e il Pontefice: Ludovico Marracci fra cultural islamica e Curia papale, Carocci, 2015.
Reinhold L. Glei and Roberto Tottoli, Ludovico Marracci at work: the evolution of his Latin translation of the Qur'an in the light of his newly discovered manuscripts: with an edition and a comparative linguistic analysis, Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016.
Alastair Hamilton, 'After Marracci: The Reception of Ludovico Marracci’s Edition of The Qur’an in Northern Europe from the Late Seventeenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries', Journal of Qur'anic Studies, 20, n°3 (2018),175-92.
- Giovanni Lista