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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 Epistola ad cardinelem Sancti Petri [Nicholas of Cusa] quod deceat per viam pacis et doctrinae quam gladii ad Sarracenorum conversiones

(1,137 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Anne Marie
Epistola ad cardinelem Sancti Petri'Letter to the cardinal of Saint Peter [Nicholas of Cusa] concerning how the way of peace and doctrine is more fitting than the sword for the conversions of Saracens', 'Letter to Nicholas of Cusa' Juan de Segovia Date: 2 December, 1454 Original Language: Latin Description This is a letter-treatise to Juan de Segovia’s former colleague at the Council of Basel, Nicholas of Cusa (q.v.). In the 1430s, Nicholas had assisted Segovia in the latter’s efforts to obtain copies of the Qur’an, and the two apparently shar…

 Epistola ad Carolum VII regem Francorum

(1,941 words)

Author(s): Meserve, Margaret
'Letter to King Charles VII of France' Francesco Filelfo Date: 17 February 1451 Original Language: Latin Description Filelfo wrote his letter to Charles VII in February 1451, shortly after hearing news of the death of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II. Other correspondence from the period shows that Filelfo was angling for a position at the French court, and the letter brims with flattery and praise for the French king, whom Filelfo identifies as the only prince in Christendom who can successfully prosecute a war agai…

 Epistola ad Ioannem de Segovia

(285 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Letter to Juan de Segovia’ Nicholas of Cusa, Nicholas of Kues, Nicolaus Cusanus Date: 29 December 1454 Original Language: Latin Description Juan de Segovia had written to Nicholas in 1454, in the wake of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, to try to enlist him in his attempt to organize a contraferentia, or conference, between Christian and Muslim leaders to debate the faith, or more precisely ‘to pierce the heart of the Saracens with the sword of the Divine Spirit’. In his response to Juan, Nicholas approves of the idea: Islam spreads by the sword, he says, whereas C…


(970 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Letters’ Jacques de Vitry Date: November 1216-April 1221 Original Language: Latin Description Jacques wrote six letters, from Genoa, Acre and Damietta, to Pope Honorius III, to his former Parisian teachers, to Jean de Nivelles, to the beguines of Oignies, to the Cistercian nuns of Aywières and to their abbess, to Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, and to various unnamed friends. They date from November 1216 to April 1221 (see Huygens, Letters, pp. 534-37) Often, he sent the same letter (with slight modifications), to multiple recipients. (The edition contains seven let…

 Epistolæ Adriani papæ ad Egilam episcopum

(905 words)

Author(s): Aillet, Cyrille
Pope Hadrian’s Epistles to Bishop Egila Hadrian I Date: 785-91 (Gundlach) Original Language: Latin Description Hadrian’s first letter to Egila reminds him of his mission in partibus Spaniensis provinciæ. He has been ordained by Wilcharius, archbishop of the Gauls, as a kind of legate with responsibility for preaching the ‘orthodox faith’ in Iberian territories under Muslim rule, propagating Roman ecclesiastical legislation, and fighting against local ‘heresies’. The deacon Saranus and the monk Victorinus will act as interm…

 Epistolae et privilegia

(5,500 words)

Author(s): Mastnak, Tomaž
Letters and privileges Urban II Date: 15 October 1088-4 May 1099 Original Language: Latin Description Relevant to Christian-Muslim relations are portions of Urban II’s papal letters and privileges, as well as decrees and canons of church councils convoked by the pope, contemporary reports of Urban’s actions and speeches (some by eye-witnesses), and fragments and testimonia in later sources. Letters and privileges are our most extensive source. Jaffé’s Regesta cites 463 items; additional documents have been discovered since, mostly by Kehr and his collaborators.…

 Epistolae et privilegia

(6,909 words)

Author(s): Mastnak, Tomaž
Letters and privileges Gregory VII Date: From 22 April 1073 to [1085] Original Language: Latin Description Most of Gregory VII’s surviving letters are collected in his Register, which is both the only preserved register of any reform pope and the earliest surviving original register of a pope (although on this point there are some dissenting views). The Register contains around 390 items: letters written by Gregory, as well as a small number of letters written to him and records of his Lateran synods. More than 60 of his surviving letters were never registered ( extravagantes), and only …

 Epistola Paschalis de Victoria

(639 words)

Author(s): Guéret-Laferté, Michèle
‘Letter of Pascal of Vitoria’ Pascal of Vitoria Date: 1338 Original Language: Latin Description The letter sent by Pascal from Almaliq to his fellow Franciscans in Vitoria begins with a precise account of each stage of his journey from Avignon right through to the heart of Central Asia. The aim of his mission is made perfectly clear: to preach the Gospel ‘as much to Saracens as to schismatic or heretic Christians’ (ed. Wyngaert, p. 503). This is why he learnt Cuman and Uyghur during his journey, languages use…

 Epistola salutaris doctoribus Egipti transmissa

(672 words)

Author(s): Bird, Jessalynn
‘Letter of greeting to the learned men of Egypt’; ‘Letter to the learned men of Egypt’; ‘Letter to the philosophers of Egypt’; ‘Letter to the doctors of Egypt’ Oliver of Paderborn Date: September 1221 Original Language: Latin Description Following the conviction of his contemporaries (including Jacques de Vitry, q.v.) that debate with the learned men of Islam (and other ‘heresies’) based on the common authorities of reason, scripture, and the libri naturales offered the best hope of their conversion to Christianity, Oliver wrote a letter to the doctores (learned men) of Egypt afte…

 Epistola salutaris regi Babilonis ab auctore huius operis conscripta

(771 words)

Author(s): Bird, Jessalynn
‘Letter of greeting to the king of Babylon written by the author of this work’; ‘Letter to the king of Babylon’; ‘Letter to al-Kāmil of Egypt’ Oliver of Paderborn Date: September 1221 Original Language: Latin Description Written shortly after the defeated crusaders’ conclusion of a truce with Sultan al-Kāmil, Oliver’s letter appeals to the sultan’s liberality and benevolence (which he had witnessed first-hand and praised in his Historia Damiatina), urging him to free Christian captives and persuade his brother al-Muʿaẓẓam to return the Holy Land to Christian rul…

 Epistole de prosperitate Sarracenorum in temporalibus et deiectione Christianorum

(1,066 words)

Author(s): Burman, Thomas E.
Epistole ad ecclesiam triumphantem; Epistolae quinque commentatorie de perditione Acconis'Letters on the temporal success of the Muslims and the abject state of the Christians' Riccoldo da Monte di Croce Date: 1291-99 Original Language: Latin Description One of the most remarkable Latin-Christian reflections on Islam, Riccoldo’s five letters, rather than being an attack on the religion of the Prophet, are a reflection on the ‘temporal success of the Muslims and the abject state of the Christians’, as the title of one of them puts…

 Epistolē pros tous Nikaias Epistolē didaskalikē pros pantas tous hypʼ autou poimanomenous Christianous peri hypomonēs kai makrothymias Epistolē didaskalikē pros tous hiereis kai loipous klērikous tēs katʼ auton hagias Ekklēsias

(921 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘Letter to the Christians of Nicea’; ‘Letter of teaching to all Christians under his pastoral care on patient endurance and long-suffering’; ‘Letter of teaching to the priests and to the other members of the clergy of his holy Church’ Theophanes of Nicea Date: Between 1364 and 1380 Original Language: Greek Description Theophanes wrote three letters: to the Christians of Nicea, to the Christians of Prusa, Nicea and surroundings, and to the clergy of his diocese. He probably wrote the first in the time between his appointment and his consecration (it was sent in the autumn of 1368; PG 150, co…

 Epistula Saraceni [et] Rescriptum Christiani

(994 words)

Author(s): González Muñoz, Fernando
Disputatio Saraceni et ChristianiThe letter of a Saracen [and] the reply of a Christian, Disputation of a Saracen and a ChristianThe Apology of al-Kindī Peter of Toledo Date: 1142 Original Language: Latin Description Peter of Toledo’s Latin translation of the Arabic Risālat al-Kindī (q.v.) appears to derive from a version close, though not identical, to that in MS Gotha, Forschungsbibliotek – Ar. 2884 (copied in 1656 from a version dated 1173) and its duplicate, MS Paris BNF – Syr. 204. In general, it is quite faithful to the original, …

 Eroteseis kai apokriseis peri diaphorōn kephalaiōn genomenai ek diaphorōn prosōpōn pros ton abban Anastasion on tas lyseis epoiēsato ouk ex autou all’ek pollēs peiras

(720 words)

Author(s): Binggeli, A.
ErotapokriseisQuaestiones et responsionesQuestions and Answers on different subjects asked by different people to Abba Anastasius, who gave the answers not from himself but from long experience’ Anastasius of Sinai Date: Unknown, probably c. 700 Original Language: Greek Description The original collection, consisting of 103 questions and answers, was first reconstituted by Richard and edited by Munitiz (165 pp.). The earlier edition by Gretser (reproduced in PG), which comprises 154 questions, is a compilation of different collections of Erotapokriseis, of which only que…

 Erōtēseis kai apokriseis peri tēs theotētos tou Kyriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou

(541 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
ʻQuestions and answers concerning the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christʼ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: 1470 Original Language: Greek Description In this work, Gennadius reports a conversation he had with two senior Turkish officials ( hoi ta megista dynamenoi), before whom he was requested to appear at the end of May 1470. At the meeting, which took place on a country estate in the vicinity of Serres, the two Turks address a series of questions to him about Christian beliefs in Jesus Christ. They start by asking why Christians worship Jesus Christ, son of Mary, as God. Gennadi…

 Erōtēsis Agarēnou pros ton auton

(399 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A Hagarene’s question to the same (opusculum 9) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This short text answers a Muslim who asks Abū Qurra whether Christ willed to be crucified, suggesting that had he willed it the Jews are to be praised for having crucified him. Abū Qurra argues against this person via an analogy, citing as his example the Muslims who are killed while waging jihād against the Christians of Byzantium. Significance See the comments at 2.11.6. Manuscripts MS Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek – Phil. Gr. 314, f…

 Erōtēsis apistou pros ton auton genomenē

(495 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
An unbeliever’s question to the same (opusculum 16) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description Abū Qurra argues in this short treatise that Christ was able both to be hypostatically united to his flesh and to be present in all things, providentially providing for them and governing them. Significance Abū Qurra’s opponent is never specified. However, it is very likely a question of a Muslim, as a similar argument can be found in part six of Abū Qurra’s Against the outsiders (see above, pp. 470-71). Manuscripts MS Vienna, Österreichische Nationa…

 Erōtēsis Arabōn pros Christianon

(403 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A question of the Arabs to a Christian (opusculum 8) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description In this short dialogue, Abū Qurra endeavors to explain how Christ and the Holy Spirit can be God without there being more than one God. In arguing that there is a distinction between hypostases and nature, he draws an analogy with the Qurʾān, which exists in multiple copies without there being more than one Qurʾān. Significance The arguments here are also found in Abū Qurra’s Arabic works. In particular, one may compare the treatise des…

 Estoire de la guerre sainte

(2,904 words)

Author(s): Croizy-Naquet , Catherine
‘History of the holy war’ Ambroise Date: Late 12th or early 13th century Original Language: Old French Description L’Estoire de la guerre sainte is a French chronicle written in the form of rhyming octosyllabic couplets. According to the critics, it was composed either in the late 12th century, between 1194 and 1199, or in the early 13th century. It is known from a single manuscript, dating from the second half of the 13th century and bearing Anglo-French features. The difficulty in dating it derives on the one hand from the status of the author – who is Ambroise? –…
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