Christian-Muslim Relations 600 - 1500

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
General Editor: David Thomas, Alex Mallett
Associate Editors: Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Johannes Pahlitzsch, Barbara Roggema, Mark Swanson, Herman Teule and John Tolan
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History Online is a general online history of relations between the faiths. It covers the period from 600 to 1500, when encounters took place through the extended Mediterranean basin and are recorded in Syriac, Arabic, Greek, Latin and other languages. Christian Muslim Relations Online comprises introductory essays on the treatment of Christians in the Qur’an, Qur’an commentaries, biographies of the Prophet, Hadith and Sunni law, and of Muslims in canon law, and the main body of more than two hundred detailed entries on all the works recorded, whether surviving or lost.

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 Dalā'il al-nubuwwa

(290 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Al-Bāhilī l-Baṣrī Date: Unknown; before about 915 Original Language: Arabic Description Almost nothing is known about this work, not even its proper title. It is not listed among al-Bāhilī’s works by Ibn al-Nadīm, and the only reference is given by ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tathbīt, p. 511, who mentions it together with other works about the miracles of Muḥammad that are not referred to in the Qurʾān. From what ʿAbd al-Jabbār says about these works, it appears that this one, like the others mentioned with it, made the point that even though the mirac…

 [Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa]

(143 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Isḥāq ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Bishr al-Ḥarbī Date: before 898 Original Language: Arabic Description A work about proofs of prophethood is mentioned by Ḥājjī Khalīfa, Kashf al-ẓunūn ʿan asmā l-kutub wa-l-funūn, 7 vols, ed. G. Flügel, Leipzig, 1835-58, iii, p. 237, though nothing else is known about it. It would probably have been a typical example of the genre, and it may have listed and commented on biblical proof verses and also refuted arguments from Christians. Significance It presumably employed similar arguments to those in contemporary…

 Dalā’il al-nubuwwa

(305 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Al-Wāsiṭī Date: Unknown, before 919 Original Language: Arabic Description The only reference to this work is given by ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tathbīt, pp. 352-53. He names al-Wāsiṭī among others who wrote to expound and defend the prophethood of Muḥammad by adducing references from books of the Bible, though he does not give actual titles. He explains that al-Wāsiṭī and the other authors, among them Ibn Qutayba (q.v.), Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn al-Munajjim (q.v.) and al-Zuhayrī (q.v.), wrote in response to Q 2…

 Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa

(124 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Abū Bakr ʿAbdallāh ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿUbayd ibn Abī l-Dunyā Date: Before 894 Original Language: Arabic Description The work is listed among Ibn Abī l-Dunyā’s works in MS Damascus, Dār al-Kutub al-Ẓāhiriyya – Majmūʿa 42, fols 57-59, and, based upon this, is mentioned by al-Munajjid, ‘ Muʿjam muṣannafāt Ibn Abī al-Dunyā’, p. 586. It would have been an example of the ‘proofs of prophethood’ genre, and it may have listed and commented on biblical proof verses and also refuted arguments from Christians. Significance It presumably employed similar arguments to thos…

 Dalā’il al-nubuwwa

(307 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Al-Zuhayrī Date: Unknown; before 995 Original Language: Arabic Description The only reference to this work is given by ʿAbd al-Jabbār ( Tathbīt, pp. 352-53). He names al-Zuhayrī among others who wrote to expound and defend the prophethood of Muḥammad by adducing references from books of the Bible, though he does not give actual titles. He explains that al-Zuhayrī and the other authors, among them Ibn Qutayba (q.v.), Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyā ibn al-Munajjim (q.v.) and al-Wāsiṭī (q.v.), wrote in response to …

 Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa

(507 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Proofs of prophethood Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdallāh ibn Qutayba Date: Mid-9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The original is lost, and its extent and scope can no longer be known. Only relatively short quotations in Ibn al-Jawzī and a few other authors, including Ibn Ḥazm, remain. These include verses from Genesis that are used to show how Islam will abrogate the Jewish law and bring all other dispensations to an end, and also from Isaiah and other prophets from the Hebrew Bible, as well as a few from the G…

 Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, ‘Proofs of prophethood’

(121 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
- Abū Dāwūd Sulaymān ibn al-Ashʿath al-Sijistānī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description The work is mentioned by Hajjī Khalīfa, Kashf al-ẓunūn, iii, p. 237, on the authority of Ibn Ḥajar, Tahdhīb al-tahdhīb. While the work may well have largely comprised lists of Hadiths, it could also have listed and commented on biblical proof verses and also replied to arguments from Christians. Significance It presumably employed similar arguments to those in contemporary works of the kind, and may have both used earlier works and fed later works in the genre. Manuscripts -- Editions &…

Dāniyāl al-Suryānī l-Mārdīnī; (= Daniel ibn al-Khaṭṭāb?)

(894 words)

Author(s): N. Swanson, Mark
Daniel al-Mārdīnī Date of Birth: Possibly 1327 Place of Birth: In or near Mardin Date of Death: After 1382 Place of Death: Perhaps Mardin Biography The author of the Kitāb uṣūl al-dīn (‘The fundamentals of religion’) described below was a West-Syrian (‘Jacobite’) monk who, in the MSS of the work, is regularly identified as Dāniyāl (Daniel) ibn al-Khaṭṭāb. Early 20th-century scholarship identified two possibilities for saying more about this author. First, F. Nau discovered and in 1905 published the story of rabban Daniel of Mardin, a scholarly monk who in 1382 was arrested a…

Dante Alighieri

(699 words)

Author(s): de Ventura, Paolo
Dante Date of Birth: May/June 1265 Place of Birth: Florence Date of Death: 14 September 1321 Place of Death: Ravenna Biography Dante was born in Florence in 1265. As a young man he was a member of the Guild of Doctors and Apothecaries, and he also took an active part in the public life of the city. In 1289, he was among the cavalry at the battle of Campaldino, and possibly the battle of Caprona. Between 1295 and 1297, he was a member of the Council to the Captain of the People, and the Council of the Hundred, before…

 Das Rolandslied

(2,648 words)

Author(s): Cammarota, Maria Grazia
The Song of Roland Pfaffe Konrad Date: About 1170 Original Language: Middle High German Description The Rolandslied by Pfaffe Konrad is a translation (or better, an adaptation) of the Chanson de Roland (q.v.), based on the military defeat of Charlemagne at Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees in 778. None of the extant manuscripts of the Chanson de Roland was Konrad’s direct source. With respect to the plot, the Rolandslied bears the closest affinities to the version attested in the Oxford manuscript, but, with its 9094 verses, the German rendering doubles the length o…

David of Damascus

(281 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Biography David was a 9th-century Melkite metropolitan of Damascus. In the year 884, a controversy between him and his patriarch occasioned an exchange of letters, some written by him, others written in his defense. Taken as a whole, these letters show David to have been a figure of some standing in the church, able not only to resist the will of his patriarch, but also to summon the assistance of a variety of powerful allies, including the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria and the most powerfu…

Dawit‘ erēc‘ Baluec‘i

(96 words)

Author(s): Cowe, S. Peter
Biography The author of the text informs readers that he is the son of the sister of Grigor, the protagonist of the narrative, and that he had studied under his uncle’s tutelage to become a priest. He says that he was an eyewitness to the events he describes. Primary Sources of Information The only primary source for the author’s biography is the martyrology itself. Secondary Sources of Information H. Ačaṙyan, Hayoc‘ anjnanunneri baṙaran, vol. 2, Yerevan, 1944, p. 45 Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Vkayabanut‘iwn Grigori Baluec‘woy, Simēoni ew Kirakosi S. Peter Cowe


(343 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū Jaʽfar Aḥmad ibn Naṣr al-Dāwudī al-Asadī Date of Birth: Unknown; mid-10th century Place of Birth: Ifrīqiya Date of Death: 1011-12 Place of Death: Tilimsān Biography Al-Dāwudī was a Mālikī jurist born in the north of Ifrīqiya. He travelled to Tripoli in Libya, where he started to write his commentary on Mālik’s Al-muwaṭṭaʾ, and later moved to Tilimsān, where he was the faqīh of the city. (Qaddūrī, pp. 169-70, shows that his shuhra is not al-Rawādī, but al-Dāwudī. The mistaken reading is given by Steinschneider and Brockelmann, and copied by Epalza and Devillard. Pace Steinschneider, …

 Débat du Chrestien et du Sarrazin

(731 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Debate between a Christian and a Saracen’ Jean Germain Date: 1450 Original Language: French Description The Débat du Chrestien et du Sarrazin, also known as Trésor des simples contre Mahomet and Cinq livres contre la secte de Mahomet, is Jean’s magnum opus. Dedicated to his patron, the Duke of Burgundy, it is a massive encyclopedic work of anti-Muslim polemics in five books. It contains little that is new, except for its language: Jean makes available to a French-speaking audience an anthology of anti-Muslim polemical literature translated from the Latin: Petrus Alfonsi’s Dialogi (q.…

 De bello a Christianis contra barbaros gesto

(1,455 words)

Author(s): Black, Robert
De bello'On the war fought by the Christians against the barbarians' Benedetto Accolti Date: May-July 1464 Original Language: Latin Description     Accolti's history of the First Crusade, consisting of 92 pages (in the Recueil des historiens des croisades) and of 111 folios (in the presentation manuscript, Florence Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Pl. 54.6), was his longest work. He begins the first book with an account of the rise of Islam and the loss to Christianity of the holy lands, and goes on to recount Peter the Hermit and Po…

De expugnatione Lyxbonensi

(381 words)

Author(s): Phillips, Jonathan P.
Unknown author; probably Raol, a Norman-French priest Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown; possibly Normandy Date of Death: Unknown; latter part of the 12th century Place of Death: Unknown Biography Raol was a Norman-French priest who wrote an account of the northern European crusading expedition that helped King Afonso I Henriques of Portugal (1128-85) conquer the city of Lisbon in October 1147. This was a temporary stop for the crusaders who were en route to the main target of the campaign in the Levant. This work…

 De expugnatione Lyxbonensi

(944 words)

Author(s): Phillips, Jonathan P.
The conquest of Lisbon De expugnatione Lyxbonensi Date: 1147 or soon after Original Language: Latin Description The modern English edition and translation is 65 pages of Latin, with an opposing-page translation. The work, in the form of an epistolary narrative, is primarily a description of the conquest of Lisbon (October 1147) by an army of northern European crusaders during the Second Crusade. It was probably written originally as a diary and then shaped into its literary form of an epistolary narrative during the winter of…

 De fide catholica. Contra haereticos, Valdenses, Iudaeos et paganos

(567 words)

Author(s): Dreyer, Mechthild
'On the Catholic faith. Against heretics, Waldensians, Jews and pagans' Alan of Lille Date: After 1180, but presumably before 1187 Original Language: Latin Description De doctrina catholica is to be seen in the context of the preaching missions of the Cistercians against heretics in the south of France. Alan also discusses heretical positions in his theological summa Quoniam homines. There are also connections to the Distinctiones dictionum theologicarum (Summa modis). De doctrina catholica is dedicated to William VIII, Lord of Montpellier. The work is divided into four book…

 De fide et legibus

(1,732 words)

Author(s): Murphy, Sean
‘On faith and laws’ William of Auvergne Date: Unknown; probably between about 1220 and 1240 Original Language: Latin Description De fide et legibus is one of the seven treatises that make up William’s Magisterium divinale ac sapientiale; internal evidence indicates it was written after his De sacramentis and De virtutibus et moribus. The first section, De fide, is much shorter than the second, De legibus (in the 1674 edition, 17 pages for the former as compared with 85 pages for the latter), and the two sections read like two separate treatises – each has it…

 De fine

(646 words)

Author(s): Hames, Harvey
'The goal' Ramon Llull Date: 1304 Original Language: Latin Description This work is dedicated to showing how the infidel can be converted to Christianity and the Holy Land recaptured from the Muslims. Llull divides the work into three parts, of which the most important is the first, dealing with preaching to the infidel. This was the central pivot of his life’s mission, and one that he viewed as just as important as fighting the Muslims. Llull proposes the setting up of four monasteries where the relevant…

 Dei gesta per Francos

(1,478 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
The deeds of God through the Franks Guibert of Nogent Date: 1109 Original Language: Latin Description Guibert calls his chronicle Dei gesta per Francos, ‘The deeds of God through the Franks’, because he presents the First Crusade as the glorious accomplishment of God’s will through His new chosen people.  He describes the army of the Franks in language that echoes Old Testament narratives of Israel’s victories over its pagan enemies.  Guibert’s principle source is the anonymous Gesta francorum (q.v.) , which he criticizes both for its poor Latin and for its insufficient gr…

 De liberatione civitatum Orientis

(444 words)

Author(s): Airaldi & Alex Mallett, Gabriella
The liberation of the cities of the East Caffaro of Genoa Date: Mid-1150s Original Language: Latin Description This chronicle describes the participation of the Genoese in the First Crusade, and the privileges and holdings granted to the city-state in the Holy Land following their success. Caffaro, who participated in the campaign, wrote the chronicle in the mid-1150s, around 50 years after the events themselves and his similar, though much shorter, account in his Annals. The chronicle seems to have been written as a legal document to be presented to Pope Hadrian IV, …

 De locis sanctis

(668 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
On the holy places Adomnán of Iona, Adamnan, Adomnanus, Adamnanus Date: c. 680 Original Language: Latin Description The work consists of a description of the holy sites of Jerusalem and Palestine: it is a treatise of sacred geography for use as an exegetical aid. Adomnán’s principle source is an oral informant named Arculf, a bishop from Gaul who traveled to the Holy Land in the 670s and who described the sites he visited. Arculf presents the Saracens’ ‘king Mavias’ (the Umayyad Caliph Muʿāwiya, r. 661-80) as a …

 Dēmētriou tou Kydōnou Rōmaiois Symbouleutikos

(713 words)

Author(s): Tinnefeld, Franz
Oratio pro subsidio Latinorum'Advisory address by Cydones to the Byzantines' Demetrius Cydones Date: August 1366 Original Language: Greek Description While the Emperor John V was still on his way back from Buda, where he had tried in vain to get military help from the ‘barbarians’ (sc. the Hungarians under Louis the Great) against the Turks ( PG 154, cols 1000D-1001B), his cousin, Count Amedeus VI of Savoy (col. 993AB), had arrived in Byzantine waters in August 1366 with a small fleet and recaptured Kallipolis (Barker, Manuel II Palaiologos, pp. 7-8), a Byzantine stronghold on the…

Demetrius Cydones

(756 words)

Author(s): Tinnefeld, Franz
Dēmētrios Kydōnēs; Dēmētrios Kydōnios Date of Birth: About 1324 Place of Birth: Thessaloniki Date of Death: End of 1397 Place of Death: Candia, Crete Biography Demetrius came from a distinguished family that for generations had served at the imperial court in Constantinople. His father was a good friend of John Cantacuzenus, a rich member of the military aristocracy and a confidant of Emperor Andronicus III Palaeologus. When Andronicus died in 1341, Cantacuzenus claimed imperial power in place of the heir, John V, who w…

 De mittendo gladio divini Spiritus in corda Sarracenorum

(961 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Anne Marie
De mittendo gladio'On driving the sword of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the Saracens' Juan de Segovia Date: 1453-57 Original Language: Latin Description This is the first work that Juan de Segovia wrote to a former colleague following the fall of Constantinople in 1453, even though it was not the first to be circulated. The intended recipient was Juan de Cervantes, an associate of whom had informed Juan of this news. At the time, Cervantes was serving as archbishop of Seville, a diocese bordering the Muslim kingdo…

 De pace fidei

(787 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘On the peace of faith’ Nicholas of Cusa, Nicholas of Kues, Nicolaus Cusanus Date: 1453 Original Language: Latin Description Nicholas wrote De pace fidei in the aftermath of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. It takes the form of a heavenly vision in which the narrator witnesses a dialogue between 17 wise men from various religions and diverse regions of the world, who are questioned by the Supreme King (also called Verbum, the Word). The work is very unlike earlier fictitious dialogues in which Jews, Christians and Muslims argue about doctrinal or ritual differ…

 De prima iuentione Gujnee

(909 words)

Author(s): Frederiks, Martha
'The voyages of Diogo Gomes' Diogo Gomes Date: Late 15th century Original Language: Latin Description De prima iuentione Gujnee is the written account of Diogo Gomes’ memoirs concerning his voyages to Guinea, narrated to the cartographer Martin Behaim (Gomes, De la première découverte, pp. 12-13) and edited by Valentim Fernandes. Behaim’s interviews with Gomes are said to have taken place many years after the actual journeys, possibly c. 1482 or even later (Crone, ‘Introduction’, p. xxiv; Macphearson, ‘Pre-Columbian discoveries’, p. 64)…

 De rationibus fidei contra Saracenos, Graecos et Armenos ad cantorem Antiochenum

(676 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De rationibus fidei'Reasons for the faith against the Saracens, Greeks and Armenians, to the cantor of Antioch' Thomas Aquinas Date: Not long before 1274 Original Language: Latin Description Some time after he finished his Summa contra gentiles, Thomas composed a brief tract, Reasons for the faith, for the cantor of Antioch, who had asked him to provide arguments to defend the faith against the objections of Muslims and Eastern Christians.  The Muslim objections to Christian doctrine (as reported by the Cantor) are standard ones: God can have no son because he has…

 De rebus Hispanie sive Historia Gothica; De rebus Hispanie; Historia Gothica

(1,761 words)

Author(s): Maser, Matthias
‘On the affairs of Spain, or Gothic history’ Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada Date: 1243 (final redaction between February 1246 and June 1247) Original Language: Latin Description The De rebus Hispanie is a voluminous chronicle, structured into nine books of different lengths, each containing between 15 and 36 chapters. The whole text covers 299 pages in the latest edition by Fernández Valverde. The chronicle explicitly specifies 31 March 1243 as the date of its completion, but the text seems to have undergone at least one later rev…

De Saracenis

(45 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Unknown author Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Place of Death: Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations De Saracenis et ritu ipsorum in oratione et ieiunio et aliis moribus ipsorum John Tolan

 De Saracenis et ritu ipsorum in oratione et ieiunio et aliis moribus ipsorum

(337 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De Saracenis et ritu ipsorum‘On the Saracens and their practice in prayer and fasting and other customs of theirs’ De Saracenis Date: Late 13th or early 14th century Original Language: Latin Description This brief anonymous text consists of 18 paragraphs describing various aspects of Muslim practice and doctrine, extracted from ch. 5 of Petrus Alfonsi’s (q.v.) Dialogi contra Iudaeos of 1110 . It describes Muslim ablutions, fasting, the pilgrimage to Mecca, dietary restrictions, marriage and divorce, prohibition of wine, practice of justice, and beliefs ab…

 Descriptio Terrae Sanctae

(1,033 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
'Description of the Holy Land' Burchard of Mount Sion Date: Burchard apparently wrote two versions; the first was probably composed between 1280 and 1283. Original Language: Latin Description Burchard provides a description of the Holy Land in the tradition of medieval Latin pilgrimage narratives. In accordance with the genre, it is a rather bookish portrayal, as he relies on biblical descriptions, works of the Church Fathers (in particular Jerome), Jacques de Vitry’s (q.v.) Historia orientalis, and other texts. He gives his impression of the places he visits, compare…

 Descriptio Terre Sancte

(393 words)

Author(s): Bird, Jessalynn
‘Description of the Holy Land’ Oliver of Paderborn Date: Before November 1219 Original Language: Latin Description The first of several historical works Oliver wrote while participating in the Fifth Crusade, this description of the Holy Land and its shrines was intended for that campaign’s participants (their military and devotional efforts had begun in the Latin Kingdom before transferring to Egypt) and other future pilgrims and crusaders who desired to learn about the places Christ had sacralized by his life and works. Based largely on Eugesippus-Fretellus, the Descriptio’s som…

 De seta Machometi

(1,068 words)

Author(s): Burman, Thomas E.
De origine, progressu et fine Machometi et quadruplici reprobatione prophetie eius; Quadruplex reprobatio ‘On the sect of Muḥammad’ Ramon Martí Date: Unknown; probably late 1250s Original Language: Latin Description De seta Machometi, the title by which this treatise has been known since Josep Hernando edited it, is a remarkably learned attack on Muḥammad in which Martí …

 De statu et planctu ecclesiae

(523 words)

Author(s): Barros, Filomena
‘On the condition and lamentation of the church’ Álvaro Pais Date: 1330-40 Original Language: Latin Description Álvaro first wrote this work between 1330 and 1332 in Avignon in the time of Pope John XXII, revising it in Tavira in 1335, and again in Santiago de Compostela in 1340. It is divided into two parts: in the first, de statu ecclesiae, comprising 70 articles, Álvaro defends the po…

 De statu Sarracenorum

(710 words)

Author(s): Burman, Thomas E.
'On the realm of the Saracens' William of Tripoli Date: 1273 Original Language: Latin Description This treatise, which is 53 pages long in the modern edition, is divided into three sections as specified by the author at the beginning of the work. The first section (§§ 1-4) describes Muḥammad’s life and death, with a heavy emphasis on the role of Baḥīrā (who is described in rather favorable terms) in the shaping of his beliefs. The second (§§ 5-23) describes at some length the conquests of the central Islamic l…

 Devisement du Monde

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Ménard, Philippe
Il Milione‘Travels’; ‘Description of the world’ Marco Polo Date: 1298 Original Language: Old French Description The Devisement du monde narrates Marco Polo’s wanderings across Asia. The traveller quickly notes, without comment, that the inhabitants of certain regions are Muslims. He regularly says that they adorent Maomet (Franco-Italian version, ch. XXXIV, 3) or that they are S aracin (ch. XXVI, 2). These are the two expressions used to refer to Muslims, and thus apply in Persia, Afghanistan, the first Chinese towns along the Silk Road, and various …

De vita et malicia Machometi

(44 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Unknown author Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Place of Death: Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Infor…

 De vita et malicia machometi prophete Turkorum et Sarracenorum

(449 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
De vita et malicia Machometi'On the life and malice of Muḥammad, prophet of the Turks and Saracens' De vita et malicia Machometi Date: 15th century Original Language: Latin Description This text, which is unedited and exists in one 15th-century manuscript, narrates the life of the pseudo-prophet Machometus. It cannot be dated exactly, though since another text in the manuscript bears the date 1443 (f. 153r), this gives a terminus post quam for the composition of the manuscript itself. (Other texts at the end of the manuscript are later still, but have been added i…
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