Join us for a lecture by Christian Høgel (Odense / Uppsala) on
Wednesday 23 March, at 16:15, in Humanistiska teatern, Engelska parken, Uppsala,
organized by Greek and Byzantine Studies and the Retracing Connections research programme.

The early Greek translation (before 870 CE) of the Qur’an is known to us through 82 quotations in a treatise written by Niketas Byzantios in Constantinople (around 870 CE). Niketas quoted the Qur’an in Greek, sometimes extensive passages, in order to support his polemical arguments that included a variety of more or less true views of early Islam. The nature of his treatise, in addition to problems of text transmission, led many scholars to disregard the quotations and to see the translation as incompetent. But the translation is in fact produced by a person (not Niketas) who knew both Arabic and Greek very well, and who was even acquainted with some early Muslim discussions of how to interpret the Qur’an. We do not know who this person was or where he/she worked, but we can follow some of the working procedures, get an idea of the choices made and insight into an early reader of the Qur’an, who should be included as an early witness for the interpretation of the text. The translation also testifies to the importance of making the Qur’an available to Greek readers at an early stage and in general to cultural exchanges between Arabic and Greek in the centuries of wars and conflicts. And as a word-by-word translation it clearly reflects a need to get close to the Arabic original, both in terms of words and meaning.

The lecture will discuss several examples; no knowledge of Arabic or Greek is needed in order to follow!

For questions, please contact Ingela Nilsson.

RETRACING CONNECTIONS programme had a public launching event on September 28, 2020 at the Humanities theater of Uppsala University. Ingela Nilsson presented the programme’s structure and members. Miriam Hjälm spoke about miraculous births, merciful caliphs and audacious monks in Arabic and Greek storyworlds. Myrto Veikou introduced the audience with spatial storytelling and the Byzantine-Arabic frontier epics. Milan Vukašinović shared some suggestions on how to deal with déjà-vus in medieval literature and Christian Høgel announced exciting plans for the years to come.

Instead of letting the extraordinary circumstances of the global pandemic hinder our work and isolate us in our homes, the members of the Retracing connections programme want to reach out, bring colleagues closer and inspire discussion.

Join us on Friday, October 23 at 13.15 CET on zoom to meet our team members and hear about the programme! Help us connect the first dots of premodern transcultural storytelling from different corners of the world.
Short presentations of the programme by Ingela NilssonMarijana Vuković, Uffe Holmsgaard EriksenSandro Nikolaishvili and Christian Høgel will be followed by a discussion where you can ask questions to all of our team members. The discussion will be moderated by Milan Vukašinović and Myrto Veikou.

See the invitation and write to if you wish to receive the link for the presentation.


RETRACING CONNECTIONS programme will have a public launch of the program at the Uppsala University on September 28, 2020. Join us to meet our team members and hear about the programme! While being physically distanced, we will connect the first dots of premodern transcultural storytelling. See the invitation and let us know you will be present.