Scholars Examine the World’s First Printed Translation of the Quran

17 March 2023


According to the press service of St. Petersburg State University named after M. Gorky, a rare second edition of the world’s first printed Quran is stored in the department of rare books and manuscripts at the university. This edition was printed in Latin in 1550. The first edition was published in 1543. It is based on the first translation of the Quran into Latin and was made in Toledo, Spain, around 1143, at the request of Abbot Peter the Venerable by priest Robert of Ketton.

Interestingly, a translation of the Quran by the Catholic priest of Ketton was prepared for printing by Theodore Bibliander, a Protestant theologian and linguist.

It is also reported that this rare copy will by studied at the Centre for Islamic Studies, St. Peter State University. The Centre is involved in the preparation of the series “The Quran in Russia”, which aims to reveal to readers the most important copies of the holy book of Islam, which appeared on the territory of modern Russia in different historical periods and which became an integral part of its cultural and spiritual heritage.

The first copy of this series is “The Alcoran of Mahomet, or the Turkish Law”, which was the first printed translation of the Quran into Russian, made from the French translation by André du Ryer in St. Petersburg by order of Peter the Great in 1716. Another copy, produced by order of Empress Catherine the Great in 1787, is a reprint of the first complete Arabic text of Mullah Uthman Ismail, who was a scholar of the Quran, and the book is accompanied by explanations of different ways of reading the Quran.

The books are kept at the Russian National Library, which has joined the project. It is noteworthy that other copies of “The Life and Teachings of Muhammad” are in major libraries such as the Newberry (Chicago, USA), the Bavarian State Library (Munich, Germany) and the Public Library of Lyon (France).



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: SPbU press service