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The ‘Corpus Coranicum Christianum’



The planned research project Corpus Coranicum Christianum (CCC), which is currently only in its concept phase, shall explore the Qur'an and its reception in a historical and diachronic manner from an exterior Christian perspective. To this end, the translations (corpus) of the Qur'an (coranicum) into the Syrian, Greek and Latin languages, that stem from a Christian cultural sphere (christianum) in the period between the emergence of Islam in the 7th century and the 13th century, shall be philologically processed in an Open Access-Databank. Adhering to accepted publication standards, the annotation and entry of these documents into this database shall make these texts and perspectives available for both the scientific community and the general public. An interdisciplinary approach to this academic investigation would allow us to have a fact based approach – utilizing historical and philological criteria – to investigate the formation and development of the image of Islam in Europe and the Western world. Through this process, the topoi and stereotypes, that the Christian perception of Islam is based on – all of which are inherent in these sources –, would be traced back in their genesis and to the beginning of Islam. This historical reconstruction, which is not solely meant to address ongoing discourses and discussions, would offer at its very foundation an academically based, open discourse with Islam.


Background and Development of the Corpus Coranicum Christianum


E-Learning project “Methods for Digitally Indexing and Compiling Digital Editions in the Philology of the Christian Orient: from Digitizations of Handwritten Text to a Digital Edition (</xml>)” (June 2019) [Project Proposal Prototype “Alignment of the Quran and its medieval translations and paraphrases” for a possible open-access publication for the Corpus Coranicum Christianum Workshop “Preliminary Considerations on the Corpus Coranicum Christianum. The Qur’an in Translation – A Survey of the State-of-the-Art” (5–7 December 2018) Initiative Funding of the Research Commission (Presidential Funding), FU Berlin (2017) [Project Proposal] Academic Courses “Philologische Grundlagenarbeit” [‘Philological Groundwork’] and “Digitale Editionsmethoden” [‘Working Methods for Digital Editions’] (2017/18) Exceptional Financing for the Teaching Assignments for “Working Methods for Digital Editions” through the Department of Philosophy and Humanities (2017) Teaching Project “The Digitization of Philology – The Corpus Coranicum Christianum (2016/17) [Project Proposal] Research Internships offered by Manolis Ulbricht (since 2014) Ph.D. Thesis “Coranus Graecus. The Oldest Transmitted Translation of the Qurʾān within the «Ἀνατροπὴ τοῦ Κορανίου» of Nicetas of Byzantium. Introduction, Text, Translation, Commentary (2012–2015) Master Thesis “Fragments of a Greek Translation of the Qur’an from the Vat. gr. 681” (2009–2010)



The origin of the Corpus Coranicum Christianum (CCC) is Dr. Manolis Ulbricht's dissertation Coranus Graecus, in which the oldest translation of the Qur'an is editorially presented and accessed in a philological context. At the same time as this work was made available in print, a “Digital Edition of the Coranus Graecus” was developed within the framework of the research orientated doctrine of the Freie Universität Berlin. In the spirit of cooperation, the digital presentation of the manuscript follows the standards of the Academy’s Project Corpus Coranicum appropriately, conforming to the TEI-XML format (p5- terms of reference). The resulting ‘static’ Website is available as a Beta-Version and was introduced to university affiliates (14/07/2015).

Adhering to the research orientated doctrine of the Freie Universtität Berlin, Manolis Ulbricht will offer regular research training, which reflects the academic focal point of inter-religious dialogues. Recently, the Byzantine Department’s project “The Digitization of Philology – the Corpus Coranicum Christianum”, was officially awarded the prize of the Teaching Award 2016 by the President of the Freie Universität Berlin (Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt) on 09/02/2017. The work on this project has been developed into an interdisciplinary course (Course No. 16280 and 16283) and as of the winter semester 2017/18 the course is being offered to students from various departments.

The touchstone of the Corpus Coranicum Christianum is the Corpus Coranicum (BBAW, Prof. Dr. A. Neuwirth), a project with a focus on the Arabic Manuscripts of the Qur’anic text. On the one hand, the pre-exisiting technical infrastructure of the Corpus Coranicum (CC), such as the digital formatting of the data for the Corpus Coranicum Christianum, will be adopted as far as possible in order to facilitate a possible productive synergy. One the other hand, the scholarly field of this academic project, which focuses on a Christian reading of the Qur’an, will be enhanced. In a further step, a more suitable arrangement for the financing of this project should be sought after.

The structure of this planned project corresponds with the linguistic breakdown: The Corpus Coranicum Christianum (CCC) will consist of the sub-projects Corpus Coranicum Syriacum (CCS), Corpus Coranicum Byzantium (CCB) and the Corpus Coranicum Latinum (CCL). Through this partitioning it can thus be guaranteed that any differences or analogies in any translations of the Qur'an can be detected individually for each language without interference from any of the other sub-projects.

The comparison of the research results from the individual projects will follow in a further phase. The unifying attribute of the three sub-projects is the Christian backdrop from which the translations of the Quran and the subsequent interpretations of the Qur'anic text developed. On the basis of their early composition (7th–9th century) these are to be considered comparable or complimentary to the (as of now) known Muslim-Arabic Qur’anic Exegetical Literature. In contrast to the Corpus Coranicum (CC), which is solely concerned with the Muslim Qur'anic tradition, the Corpus Coranicum Christianum will systematically examine the various non-Muslim receptions and transformations of the Qur’an from the diverse Christian cultural areas and compare them with each other, as well as provide a synoptic comparison in relation to the Islamic understanding of the Qur’an.

The results of the linguistic, cultural and theological analysis will be implemented in the form of several annotation levels, through which they will be both synoptically comparable and generally understandable. Furthermore, the academic transcription of the digitized manuscripts will be converted into XML following unified parameters for all languages and will then be annotated and commented on based on the aspects mentioned above. In the subsequent phases of processing, the different levels of annotation can be implemented and the texts will be extensively compared and made searchable via the register and a Full-Text-Search. Regarding sustainability and the long term archiving of data, we will fall back on already existing models and standardized interfaces. Thus, the texts should be marked up following the XML-TEI-Standard and then processed further along-side the related X-Technologies, such as XSLT and XQuery.



Contact: Manolis Ulbricht

Address: corpus.coranicum.christianum@klassphil.fu-berlin.de


  • Byzantine Studies
  • Database
  • Digital Humanities
  • Digitization
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Open Access
  • Quran
  • Translation