Peter of Toledo

Peter of Toledo was a significant translator into Latin of the twelfth century. He was one of the team preparing the first Latin translation of the Qur'an (the Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete).[1]

While not much is known of his life, from his fluency in Arabic he is assumed to have been a Mozarab. His activities as a translator suggest he worked at the Toledo School of Translators, which was supported by the archbishop of Toledo, Raymond de Sauvetât. Deficiencies in the translation of Apology of al-Kindy, on which he is known to have worked, indicate that his knowledge of Classical Arabic was limited.[2]

In 1142, Peter the Venerable visited Spain and recruited a team of translators who were to translate five Arabic texts, including the Qur'an. The translation work went on in 1142-3. Peter of Toledo appears to have been the principal translator of only one of the texts, the Apology of al-Kindy,[3][4] but he played a key role in the project as a whole, collaborating with three other people who were familiar with Arabic, Robert of Ketton, Herman of Carinthia, a Muslim called Mohammed and also with Peter of Poitiers, who undertook the polishing of the Latin.[3] Kritzeck credits Peter of Toledo with having planned and annotated the collection, but this interpretation depends on the Peter being the author of anonymous glosses in a manuscript which has survived in France. [5]


  1. ^ Bishko, C. Peter the Venerable's Journey to Spain. Bishko identifies Peter of Toledo as "the probable link between the first translation of the Koran into a western language and Peter (the Venerable)'s anti-Islamic croisade intellectuelle, on the one hand, and the Toletan translators clustered about the cathedral school of Archbishop Raymond, on the other."
  2. ^ P.S. van Koningsveld, Religious polemics in context: The apology of Al-Kindi
  3. ^ a b Kritzeck, J. Robert of Ketton's translation of the Qur'an: Peter the Venerable recounted that because Peter of Toledo was not as familiar with Latin as he was with Arabic, he was assisted by another brother, Peter of Poitiers.
  4. ^ Hyatte, R. The Prophet of Islam in Old French (1997), p. 7.
  5. ^ Kritzeck, James. Peter the Venerable and Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964. (Princeton Oriental Studies No. 23)


  • James Kritzeck (1964), Peter the Venerable and Islam