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The Parchment of the "Torre Turpiana ": the original document and its early interpreters

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Author(s): van Koningsveld, P. S. | Wiegers, G. A.

Journal: Al-Qantara : Revista de Estudios Arabes
ISSN 0211-3589

Volume: 24;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 327;
Date: 2003;
Original page

ABSTRACT
The present contribution deals with the famous parchment found in 1588 in the old minaret of the former Friday Mosque of Granada, with texts in Arabic, Spanish, and Latin. Together with the Lead Books, discovered in various caves in the outskirts of Granada in the years 1595-1600, the parchment stood at the beginning of an important national cult. After being transferred to the Vatican at the beginning of the seventeenth century and following their anathematization in 1682 the parchment and the Lead Books were kept in Rome until the year 2000 when they were returned to the Archbishopry of Granada. The article presents an analysis of the layout and script of the parchment (2) followed by a survey of translations and transcripts by early (Christian and Muslim) eyewitnesses (3.1). The data of these early eyewitnesses are critically compared with the main elements of the parchment (3.2) Then follows a discussion of the palaeographic comments made by a few (Christian and Muslim) eyewitnesses (4). In the final conclusions, the authors argue that the document under discussion is indeed the original parchment as found in 1588 notwithstanding the incomprehensibility of its Arabic texts and the many inconsistencies and corruptions of its Spanish and Latin texts (5.1). According to the authors, there is no evidence for the interpretation of the parchment as a pro to-Islamic document, as we are dealing here with a Roman Catholic message heralding the destruction of Islam. At the same time, however, the document also contained a symbolic message, viz. in stipulating that the first-century Granadan Christians, including the well-known figure of Cecilius, wrote Arabic and Spanish, just as many Moriscos did. In other words: even though Islam had to be extirpated, Arabic as a language could harmoniously accompany a genuine Christian life.Este artículo está dedicado al famoso pergamino encontrado en 1588 en el antiguo minarete de la que había sido mezquita aljama de Granada, con textos en árabe, latín y castellano. Junto con los libros plúmbeos descubiertos en diversas cuevas a las afueras de la ciudad entre 1595 y 1600, el pergamino está en los orígenes de un importante culto nacional. El artículo presenta un análisis de la composición y escritura del pergamino (2) y pasa revista a las trascripciones y traducciones que se hicieron por testigos cristianos y musulmanes (3.1). Éstas se comparan críticamente con los principales elementos del pergamino (3.2) y se discuten los comentarios paleográfícos hechos por estos testigos contemporáneos (4). Como conclusión, los autores mantienen que el documento transferido desde el Vaticano en el año 2000, es el original encontrado en 1588 a pesar de lo incomprensible de los textos árabes y de la corrupción de los textos castellano y latino (5.1) Según los autores, no hay base para considerar al pergamino como documento proto-islámico, puesto que se trata de un mensaje católico romano anunciando la destrucción del islam. Al mismo tiempo, el documento incluye un mensaje simbólico al mostrar que los cristianos granadinos del siglo I, incluyendo a Cecilius, escribían árabe y castellano, lo mismo que hacían los moriscos. Así, aunque el Islam había de ser extirpado, la lengua árabe se podía armonizar con una vida genuinamente cristiana.
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