A small pamphlet is an Ottoman translation of a Russian text by a former Saint-Petersburg imam Ataullah Bayezidof, a reply to the conference called “Islam and Science”, where a French orientalist Ernest Renan addressed Islam as contradicting to science and thus opposing development (Yildirim 2017). Renan’s speech caused a furious reaction all over the Islamic world and replies were written by influential authors, such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Namık Kemal.
One of the translators of this pamphlet was the first female Russian Orientalist Olga Lebedeva (1854 — after 1912) who was also a founder of the Society of Oriental Studies in St Petersburg. She was born in the Kazan Governorate and allegedly learned Tatar form the local people. She studied Arabic, Persian and Ottoman at the Kazan University and also attended classes in history and archeology.
In 1881, Lebedeva moved to Istanbul, where she planned a large project of translating Russian works to Ottoman. After the initial suspicion by the authorities, accusing her of espionage and banning her translation of Pushkin, she eventually could start with her work, which continued in organizing salons for intellectuals and brought her a medal from Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
References: ÖZEGE; 16551 – TBTK; 5086.Cf. Ramazan YILDIRIM, İSLAM-BİLİM İLİŞKİLERİ BAĞLAMINDA ATAULLAH BAYEZİDOF’UN RENAN’A REDDİYESİ, Yakın Doğu Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fa kültesi Dergisi, Year 3, 3: 1, 2017, pp. 75-88.
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