Anthony John Lappin

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2013/2014
discipline Literature
Senior Lecturer University of Manchester

Research project

Alchoran latinus; the fourteenth–sixteenth centuries: Avignon, Rome, and Cusa


The most important and popular translation of the Qur'an in medieval and early modern Europe is undoubtedly the Alchoran latinus completed by Robert of Ketton and Hermann of Dalmatia in 1143, and subsequently distributed with other Islamic texts by the monastery of Cluny. Surviving in over twenty manuscripts, and two early-modern print editions, the Alchoran latinus presents a complex textual tradition that was much affected by the cultural conditions, intellectual and ideological interests, and political pressures: new configurations of the text, annotations and commentary were produced, beginning in Avignon in the early fourteenth century and passing through humanist Rome. The text was used by leading intellectuals, and became set reading material for at least one major council (Basel 1454); perhaps its most important reader was Nicholas of Cusa, whose annotations survive in his personal copy.

The proposed project will build on my forthcoming edition of the earliest manuscripts of the Alchoranproduced by Cluny and tie in with my edition of the sixteenth-century printings of the translation by Theodor Bibliander.  By considering, within the context of a critical edition, the alterations made quite consciously to the translation itself; the addition and subtraction of its numerous annotations; and the alteration to the works included within the collection as supporting material to the understanding of the Qur'an, and hence Islam: I will be able to describe more exactly both the reception of the Alchoran latinus in this crucial period for the conceptualizing of Islam, as well as identifying the underlying concerns of the mainly (proto-)humanist milieu in which the work was re-elaborated in order to re-present it to an intellectual readership.

An important aspect of this study will be describing the means by which the text was understood (the elaboration of specific indices, addition of new methods of annotation), and how it was engaged with (such as in the historically significant annotations by Nicholas of Cusa). A multi-layered critical edition will allow these various elements to be presented to modern readers, and an critical introduction to the volume will set the emendations and the evolution of the text in an intellectual context.




Anthony John Lappin is Senior Lecturer at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures of the University of Manchester. He holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford. 


His research fields of interest are the interaction between Christianity and Islam in the iberian peninsula; eleventh to thirteenth century hagiography, in particular the cult of Saint Dominic of Silos; the oeuvre of Gonzalo de Berceo, and the corpus traditionally associated with him, together with his biography; and Renaissance and Baroque poetry and drama.

Selected publications


Alchoran latinus: III. Editiones Theodori Bibliandri (1543 & 1550), Aracne, Rome, 2011.


Gonzalo de Berceo: the Poet and his Verses, Coleccion Tamesis, Serie A – Monografias, no. 268, Tamesis, London, 2008.


Lope de Vega: El Caballero de Olmedo, Manchester Hispanic Texts, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2007.


The Medieval Cult of Saint Dominic of Silos, MHRA Texts and Dissertations, no. 56, Maney's for the MHRA, 2002.


Berceo's 'Vida de Santa Oria': Text, Translation and Commentary, European Humanities Research Center, Oxford, 2000.


Three Discovery Plays. Auto da Barca do Inferno, Exortacao de Guerra, Auto da India. Text, translation, introduction and commentary, with A. Gil Vincente, Aris and Phillips, Warminster, 1997. 


senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline Linguistics
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline Anthropology
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline History