VERANSTALTUNGSEINLADUNG: Manuscript kick-off: Central European Christianity and Knowledge about the Orient, 1600–1640, (17.02.2021, ONLINE)

Eine Einladung, die für Student*innen, Absolvent*innen sowie Mitglieder des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung relevant sein kann:

Dear friends and colleagues,

having reached our Tengnagel project’s final year, we have now started to collectively write a book on Oriental Studies in Central Europe in the early seventeenth century*, and to design a respective data resource which will come as the book’s document appendix.

If you would like to learn more about either, please spend an hour with us online on 

Wednesday, 17 February, 2pm – 3pm (CET).

We’ll circulate the zoom link the day before the event to everyone responding to this email.

All the best,

Thomas Wallnig, on behalf of the OORPL Team (and with apologies for cross-postings).

*This is the outline of the book:

Court Librarian Sebastian Tengnagel: Central European Christianity and Knowledge about the Orient, 1600–1640

I Life and work.

This chapter contextualizes the biography of Tengnagel, a Dutch scholar who studied in Heidelberg before 1600 and then became court librarian in a city without a court. The years of his tenure are characterized by political and confessional radicalization, with Tengnagel closely involved in the events after 1618 on the side of the emperor.   

II Correspondence.

This chapter presents the material evidence of the Tengnagel correspondence and the different circles of correspondents (scholars in Western Europe and in the Holy Roman Empire, Habsburg stakeholders, Jesuits and Counter-Reformation proponents). It also points out the relationship between the correspondence and the wealth of other handwritten materials, from notebooks and lexica to marginalia in print publications.

III Oriental languages and cultures and their relations.

This chapter investigates Tengnagel as a philologist engaged in Oriental studies (on the basis of concepts of knowledge appropriation, expert knowledge, and knowledge transfer). This will be done by presenting his private library consisting of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts in general as well as by focusing on particular manuscripts which were copied by Tengnagel’s commission and/or were intensively annotated, edited, and (obviously) prepared for eventual publication by himself.

IV Christianity.

This chapter describes a complicated landscape and reveals the apparent contradictions in Tengnagel’s friendships and activities. How is it possible to reconcile his militancy alongside Gretser in the most inflamed controversies of the time with his warm exchanges with Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, dissident Christians, Jews, and atheists? Above all, what did it mean within the confessional arena of early modern Europe to study Arabic, Turkish and Persian texts in Vienna? 

V Agents and practices.

Building knowledge on the Islamic world in 16th- and 17th-century Europe could be considered a perfect example of pure intellectual history. It was led by a small group of pioneers, élite scholars who were extraordinarily dedicated and absorbed in philological and linguistic problems. But this „pure“ knowledge had its roots in a complex and layered terrain that saw interwoven military conflict, irenic tensions, missionary propaganda, philological study, and religious disputes.

This chapter analyses the link between Tengnagel and various “hybrid” figures: travellers, adventurers, missionaries, dragomans, converts, merchants. These figures often belonged to groups that were marginalised, oppressed, and almost invisible: slaves or prisoners of war from the borders of the Ottoman Empire and the shores of the Mediterranean. They were thus agents of knowledge and targets of violence at the same time. 

VI Institutions.

This chapter tackles the question of Tengnagel’s achievements as Imperial librarian, using catalogues and letters as its main sources. Tengnagel’s networks as an Oriental scholar and as Imperial librarian will be analyzed in the light of the political changes in Vienna and the Austrian Hereditary Lands during the Thirty Years’ War, and especially within a geography of knowledge that also included Rome and Munich. In this new “Catholic” triangle, the question emerges how the “Imperial” ethos of the library is preserved and reclaimed, whether through the material work of “defence and preservation” while cataloguing, through “increase and control”, for example by strengthening the existing relations to the Imperial agents at the Frankfurt book fair, or through a deeper embedding of the Imperial library in the courtly and urban system of collections. 

Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung

Das Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung mit Sitz in Wien ist eine international anerkannte Forschungs- und Ausbildungsstätte für Methodenlehre und Pflege der historischen Hilfswissenschaften (Paläographie, Urkundenlehre, Aktenkunde, Quellenkunde etc.) in ihrem kulturgeschichtlichen Kontext. – Die Blogbeiträge dieses Accounts werden, soweit nicht anders ausgewiesen, von Stephanie Rainer erstellt.

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