Building on the multivalent meanings of the Arabo-Persian tarjama ('to interpret', 'to translate', 'to narrate in writing'), this essay examines the doctrine of Qur'anic inimitability (icjaz) across Arabic and Persian literary cultures as a way of exploring the contemporary relevance of Islamic rhetoric. Treating the relation between Arabic and Persian as a case study for a theory of translation specific to Islamic literary culture, it argues that the translation of Arabic rhetorical theory (cilm al-balagha) into Persian marks a turning point in the history of Islamic rhetoric. While examining the implications of Qur'anic hermeneutics for translation theory, it considers how the inimitability concept impacts on translatability. cAbd al-Qahir al-Jurjani's reflections on naz?m (structure) enrich and refine Walter Benjamin's argument for translatability as a condition of literary language. Viewing Islamic literary aesthetics from the perspective of Benjaminian thinking about language can infuse contemporary translation theory with a richer sense of the translatability of literary texts.
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|