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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 Sobre la seta Mahometana

(1,222 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘On the Muḥammadan sect’ Pedro Pascual Date: 1298-1300, if indeed an authentic work of Pedro Pascual; otherwise 14th or 15th century Original Language: Castilian Description As with many of the works attributed to Pedro Pascual, there has been scholarly debate concerning the authorship of Sobre la seta mahometana. While both Pérez-Embid Wamba and Riera i Sans argue against attributing the tract to Pedro, Walter Mettmann argues convincingly in favor of it. The author of the tract clearly presents himself as Pedro Pascual and, if he is not the…

Solomon of Basra

(297 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
Shlemun of Khilāṭ Date of Birth: Last quarter of the 12th century Place of Birth: Possibly Khilāṭ (Akhlāṭ) on the western shore of Lake Van in present day eastern Turkey; he is surnamed Klaṭāyā (‘from Khilāṭ’) Date of Death: After 1222 Place of Death: Unknown Biography Shlemun of Khilāṭ, the name found in Bar Brikhā’s catalogue (ed. Assemani, p. 309), or Solomon of Basra as he is generally called in Western literature, was a member of the (Nestorian) Church of the East. Little is known about his early career, though he was evidently ordaine…

Somewhere in the ‘History of Spain’: People, languages and texts in the Iberian Peninsula (13th-15th centuries)

(5,812 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Background The powerful 12th-century resurgence that was prompted by a series of social, political and religious changes, with its roots in the cultural renaissance that swept Europe under Charlemagne, led to a watershed in the intellectual life of Western Europe. The new order was enhanced in large measure by the translation of numerous works of classical antiquity into Latin via Arabic, and also by the translation of texts by Muslim Arab scholars. Their most immediate impact was felt in Italy and…

Sophronius, archbishop of Cyprus

(326 words)

Author(s): Kolia-Dermitzaki, Athina
Sophronius, Archbishop of Cyprus Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown Place of Death: Unknown Biography There is some difficulty over the identification of the author of this account of the martyrdom of the forty-two martyrs of Amorion. According to the manuscript containing the Slavonic version, he was archbishop of Cyprus (Abicht and Schmidt, 'Quellennachweise, III', pp. 143-44; Vasilievskij and Nikitin, Skazania, p. 38; cf. Zaimov and Kapaldo, Suprasalski, p. 54), while according to MS Vat - Palatinus Gr. 4 (10th/11th c., though Halkin, Novum Auct…

Sophronius, ‘the Sophist’

(1,062 words)

Author(s): Sahas, Daniel J.
Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem Date of Birth: Between 550 and 580, most probably c. 560 Place of Birth: Damascus Date of Death: 11 March 638 Place of Death: Jerusalem Biography Sophronius, son of Myro and Plynthas, who were Greek-speaking but of Syrian origin, was born in Damascus, a city which he praises for its Hellenistic culture and long philosophical tradition. He was a teacher of rhetoric (whence ‘sophist’), author, monk (tonsured c. 584-85), theologian and hymnographer (like his compatriots Andrew of Crete [d. c. …

 Speculum maius

(2,990 words)

Author(s): Frunzeanu, Eduard
'The great mirror' Vincent of Beauvais Date: Between about 1244 and 1260 Original Language: Latin Description The first version of the Speculum maius, completed after 1244, is divided into two parts ( bifaria), one on natural phenomena and various kinds of knowledge, the other on human history from its beginnings to 1244, with an appendix on the end of time. Following extensive revision completed in 1260, the Speculum was restructured into three parts ( trifaria): naturale, doctrinale, historiale. A fourth part, the Speculum morale, which was circulated in the Middle Ages unde…

 Speculum regum

(599 words)

Author(s): Barros, Filomena
Mirror of kings Álvaro Pais Date: 1341-44 Original Language: Latin Description Álvaro Pais wrote this treatise between 1341 and July 1344, finishing it in Tavira. He dedicated it to Alfonso XI of Castile after his victory over the Muslims in the Battle of Salado in 1340 (the Portuguese King, Afonso IV, had also taken part). It is largely concerned with the virtues that should by cultivated by a king, and it does not flinch from levelling criticisms at rulers who ‘among other indecent Christians, are those who most surrender to lust and fornication’. Among Álvaro’s criticisms are that Ch…


(341 words)

Author(s): Coope, Jessica A.
Biography Little is known about Speraindeo’s life. He taught Eulogius (q.v.) and Paulus Alvarus (q.v.), supporters and main chroniclers of the martyrs’ movement among Christians in Cordova, 850-59. His only complete writing that survives is a brief letter written to Paulus Alvarus in the 840s or early 850s in which Speraindeo denounces a group of Christians Alvarus describes as anti-Trinitarians, who believed Jesus was not divine. The anti-Trinitarians may have connections with the Adoptionists in late 8th-century al-Andalus led by Elipandus, Archbishop of Toledo, whose…

Stepane of Tbeti

(344 words)

Author(s): Abashidze, Medea D.
Stepane Mtbevari Date of Birth: Mid 9th century Place of Birth: Georgia Date of Death: 10th century Place of Death: Georgia Biography Stepane Mtbevari was the first 10th-century bishop of Tbeti. Educated in many languages, he was a leading figure in the Tao-Klarjeti literary school, and a famed writer and hagiographer in the Georgian Church of the period. There is no firm evidence about the year of his death, but it has been traditionally placed in the third decade of the 10th century. As well as writing the Martyrdom of Mikael-Gobron, he also played an important role in church lif…

 Stephanou philosophou Alexandreos apotelesmatike pragmateia pros Timotheon ton autou matheten, prophasen men ehousa ten neophane kai atheon nomothesian tou Moamed, polla de kai alla ton mellonton proagoreuousa

(1,297 words)

Author(s): Grypeou , Emmanouela
By Stephanus, the philosopher of Alexandria, a complete treatise to his student, Timotheus, having as its pretext the recently appeared and godless legislation of Muḥammad but also foretelling many other things to come (Pseudo-)Stephanus of Alexandria Date: Late 8th century Original Language: Greek Description The treatise begins with a general introduction to certain basic principles of astrology. It explains that the planets influence political and social affairs on earth, and that the order of the cosmos lies under God’s control. After this theoretical introduction, Step…

Stephen Manṣūr, Stephen of Damascus, Stephen the Hymnographer, Stephen son of Manṣūr

(658 words)

Author(s): Vila, David H.
Stephen Manṣūr Date of Birth: Mid-8th c. Place of Birth: Unknown, possibly Damascus Date of Death: c. 807 Place of Death: Unknown, probably the monastery of Mār Saba Biography Little is known of the life of Stephen except that he lived in the second half of the 8th and just into the 9th centuries. We are told in Leontius of Damascus’ Arabic Life of Stephen of Mār Saba (q.v.) (a different Stephen, not to be confused with Stephen Manṣūr) that he was the author of the Twenty martyrs of Mār Saba and that he was a relative of John of Damascus (J. Lamoreaux, The life of Stephen of Mar Sabas, 2 vols, Louvain,…

 Stichistikoi logoi kata haireseōn

(572 words)

Author(s): Rigo, Antonio
Discourses in verse against heresies Theodoros ho Stouditēs (Stoudiotēs),Theodore the Stoudite, Theodore of Stoudios Date: c. 798/99-808 Original Language: Greek Description In a chapter of the Life of Theodore, Michael the Stoudite lists the works composed by the saint. Among these there appears one in which ‘he enumerated every heresy and rendered them anathema, in (…) pure trimeter verses’ ( PG 99, col. 264c). This work must be compared with On the heresies and the synods by Patriarch Germanus I (d. c. 733) and John of Damascus’ On heresies (q.v.). The latter text (or perhaps the Anakep…


(512 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Taqī l-Dīn Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-Kāfī l-Subkī Date of Birth: 1284 Place of Birth: Subk, Nile Delta, Egypt Date of Death: 1355 Place of Death: Cairo Biography Taqī l-Dīn al-Subkī (the father of Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī) was born in one or other of the villages named Subk in the Nile Delta. He studied law in Cairo under Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn al-Rifʿa (d. 1310; q.v.), and then himself taught in Alexandria and Cairo. In 1338/9, he was appointed chief judge of Syria and moved to Damascus, returning to Egypt just before his death. In the course of his career as judge, al-Subkī issued a numbe…

 Suʾila Abū Qurra Anbā Thādhurus usquf Ḥarrān ʿan al-Masīḥ bi-hawāhi ṣuliba am bi-ghayr hawāhi

(338 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Abba Theodore Abū Qurra, the Bishop of Ḥarrān, was asked about Christ, whether he was crucified willingly or not Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This short text is an answer to a Muslim who questions Theodore as to whether Christ willed to be crucified, suggesting that had he so willed, then the Jews are to be praised for having crucified him. Theodore 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 This fragment is of unkn…

Sulaymān al-Ashlūḥī

(234 words)

Author(s): N. Swanson, Mark
Biography Little is known about Sulaymān al-Ashlūḥī, the author of a poem in Lebanese Arabic dialect about the fall of Tripoli to the Mamluks (under Sultan Qalāwūn, on 27 April 1289) beyond what can be deduced from the poem itself. R. Jabre-Mouawad, who has recently provided a critical edition, translation, and study of the poem (‘Un témoin melkite’), convincingly argues that Sulaymān was a Melkite ( pace Nasrallah, HMLEM iii.2, p. 95). He hailed from the village of Ashlūḥ near Tripoli, no longer in existence today. His rich evocation of ceremonial in the Melkit…

Sulaymān al-Ghazzī

(506 words)

Author(s): Noble, Samuel
Sulaymān ibn Ḥasan [or ibn Baṣīlā] al-Ghazzī Date of Birth: Unknown; probably about 940 Place of Birth: Unknown; possibly Gaza or elsewhere in Palestine Date of Death: Unknown; after 1027 Place of Death: Palestine; possibly Gaza Biography Sulaymān al-Ghazzī, a Melkite bishop in Palestine during the end of the 10th and beginning of the 11th centuries, is the first Arab poet whose dīwān deals exclusively  with Christian concerns. There are no sources for his biography apart from what can be gleaned from the contents of the Dīwān and his prose writings. However, given the remarkably…

 Al-sulūk lī-maʿrifat al-duwal wa-l-mulūk

(1,198 words)

Author(s): Bauden, Frédéric
‘The path to knowledge about dynasties and kings’ Al-Maqrīzī Date: Shortly before 1421 Original Language: Arabic Description It is not known precisely when al-Maqrīzī started working on this chronicle, though it was after he had finished writing the chronicles dealing with earlier periods ( ʿIqd jawāhir al-asfāṭ fī akhbār madīnat al-Fusṭāṭ, from the Muslim conquest of Egypt to the Ikhshīdid dynasty, and Ittiʿāẓ al-ḥunafāʾ bi akhbār al-aʾimma al-khulafāʾ, covering the Fatimid dynasty), i.e. shortly before 1421. By 1428, the reputation of the book had already cro…

 Summa de haeresibus

(734 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Summa on heresies Guido Terrena de Perpignan Date: Early 14th century Original Language: Latin Description Guido begins with a section in which he defines heresy and discusses what the Church’s attitude towards heresy should be. He follows with a section on the 17 errors of the Jews, a section on the 26 errors of the Greeks, and the errors of the Jacobites, Georgians, and Armenians, who amass 30 errors between them. Then, citing the twin authorities of Augustine and Isidore, he briefly describes dozens of othe…

 Summa totius haeresis ac diabolicae sectae Saracenorum siue Hismahelitarum

(593 words)

Author(s): Iogna-Prat & John Tolan, Dominque
Summa totius haeresis SaracenorumSum of the entire heresy or demonic sect of the Saracens or Ishmaelites, Sum of the entire heresy of the Saracens Peter of Cluny Date: Probably 1143-44 Original Language: Latin Description The corpus of texts commissioned by Peter is introduced by two works of the abbot himself: a letter and the Summa totius haeresis Saracenorum, in which Peter summarizes the contents of the armarium and lays out the main lines of his argument against Islam. The principle focus of this text is a polemical biography of Muḥammad. The only source of informati…

 Sunhados d-qaddishā (…) Mār Ghiwarghis

(266 words)

Author(s): G.B. Teule, Herman
Synod of the holy (…) Mār Ghiwarghis Ghiwarghis I Date: 676 Original Language: Syriac Description A number of canons issued during this synod contain references to the Islamic environment of the church in east Arabia. Canon 6 is possibly one of the earliest admonitions to Christians not to bring their differences and conflicts to Muslim courts. Canon 14 forbids Christian women to marry foreign ḥanpē, again an allusion to the Muslims. Canon 19 stipulates that Christians entrusted by the Muslim authorities with the collection of the jizya and kharāj should exempt the bishop. Significance T…

 Super explanationem Lamentationum Ieremie prophete

(263 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Commentary on the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah William of Malmesbury Date: Probably between 1135 and 1142 Original Language: Latin Description In his commentary on the biblical book of Lamentations, which is a meditation on the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC, William describes the different senses of the text, paying most attention to the spiritual. In a brief passage of this long commentary, William explains that, while the ‘sects’ of Christians, Jews and Saracens disagree about the Son, they all believe in God the Father in their hearts and proclaim him in their words. Again, while…

 'Sur la rareté des miracles au temps présent' (title in the modern edition)

(384 words)

Author(s): Todt, Klaus-Peter
‘On the rarity of miracles in the present time’ Gennadius II Scholarius Date: Between about 1457 and 1470, possibly 1460 Original Language: Greek Description Little is known about the circumstances of this work. Its original title (if it had one) is lost, and there is uncertainty about the time of writing. Vryonis suggests between 1457 and 1470, while Blanchet dates it to about 1460. When he wrote it, Gennadius evidently had in mind Christians whose faith had been thrown into doubt. He begins by reflecting a view expressed by many, that, while in earlier times God sent mirac…
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