Encounters with the Orient in Early Modern European Scholarship


Project Summary

This project aimed to document the scholarly European encounter with Oriental culture of c.1500–1800.

This momentous cultural encounter, initiated and driven by religious and scholarly interests, resulted in a profound transformation of European values. ‘Orient’ is used to refer to the religious area of Islam, Eastern Judaism and Christianity. This project explores how the Orient changed from being a source for Christian truths to being an object of cultural studies.

The three main project objectives were to:

  • describe the scholarly and religious incentives for this encounter between Europe and the Orient
  • document the exchange of knowledge, ideas, values and material objects this encounter stimulated in the early modern period
  • explore the institutional, conceptual and religious transformations which the encounter initiated in:
    • theology and biblical studies
    • the teaching and learning of Arabic and other Oriental languages
    • literature and poetry
    • historical and anthropological thinking in general

The different parts of this project, and resulting projects, have been shared publicly through:

  • the project website
  • conferences and workshops
  • an interactive map
  • an online anthology
  • a catalogue of the opening exhibition
  • blog posts
  • public lectures

Prof. Charles Burnett

Project Leader

University of London
United Kingdom


Project Partners

Prof. Charles Burnett

Project Leader

University of London
United Kingdom

Email

Dr Jan Loop

The University of Kent
United Kingdom

Email

Prof. Outi Merisalo

University of Jyväskylä
Finland

Email

Prof. Martin Muslow

University of Erfurt
Germany

Email

Prof. Bernd Roling

Free University of Berlin
Germany

Email

Prof. Gerard Wiegers

University of Amsterdam
Netherlands

Email

Associate Partners

Wim Weijland

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden/National Museum of Antiquities
Netherlands

Email

Ernest Wichner

Literaturhaus Berlin
Germany

Email

Dr Arnoud Vrolijk

Leiden University Libraries
Netherlands

Email

Dr Richard van Leeuwen

Lecturer in Islamic Studies, University of Amsterdam
Netherlands

Email

  • University of London

    University of London

  • The University of Kent

    The University of Kent

  • University of Jyväskylä

    University of Jyväskylä

  • University of Erfurt

    University of Erfurt

  • Free University of Berlin

    Free University of Berlin

  • University of Amsterdam

    University of Amsterdam

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