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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 Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations De vita et malicia machometi prophete Turkorum et Sarracenorum John Tolan

 Liber de veritate catholicae fidei contra errores infidelium qui dicitur Summa contra gentiles

(1,324 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Summa contra gentiles'The truth of the catholic faith against the errors of the unbelievers, called the Summa against the Gentiles' Thomas Aquinas Date: 1264, or 1270-73 Original Language: Latin Description This major work has traditionally been dated to 1264, though Murphy, ‘The date and purpose of the Contra gentiles’, dates it to between 1270 and 1273. In it, Thomas justifies the use of reason to complement faith . Thomas and Ramon Martí (q.v.) had together been students of Albert the Great, and it has been suggested that it was Martí who transmitted (possib…

 Voyage d’Oultremer

(967 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Journey to the East’ Bertrandon de la Broquière Date: 1455-59 Original Language: Old French Description Bertrandon describes how in 1431 he set off with a group of European pilgrims to Jerusalem, and made the standard pilgrimage visits in the company of Franciscan friars stationed in the East. Yet, instead of returning by sea with his companions, he set off for Damascus, where he found a caravan of returning Meccan pilgrims bound for Istanbul and negotiated his passage with them. For months, Bertrandon shared…

 Vita Mahumeti

(908 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Life of Muḥammad Embrico of Mainz Date: Probably first quarter of the 12th century Original Language: Latin Description The Vita Mahumeti is a polemical life of Muḥammad in 1,149 rhymed leonine hexameters. It relates how a nameless heretical magus, feigning piety, comes to Libya where he meets Mammutius, young slave to the governor, and trains him in the arts of magic and deception. The two secretly murder the governor, then have Mammutius marry the governor’s widow. Through a series of tricks and bogus miracles, t…

 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…

 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 …


(669 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Sermons’ Jacques de Vitry Date: 1225-40 Original Language: Latin Description Jacques, both as bishop and as cardinal, composed and delivered hundreds of sermons in his career as a preacher of reform and crusade. It is in the later years of his life, in Rome, that he put into writing four major collections of model sermons: sermones dominicales (sermons for Sundays), sermones feriales (sermons for feast days), sermones ad sanctos (sermons in honor of the saints), and sermones vulgares or ad status (sermons to different categories of persons, from young virgins to Franciscan…

 Cribratio Alchorani

(738 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
‘Sifting the Qur’an’ Nicholas of Cusa, Nicholas of Kues, Nicolaus Cusanus Date: 1461 Original Language: Latin Description The Cribratio is the fruit of long and careful studies of Islam: Nicholas had read Robert of Ketton’s translation of the Qur’an together with various Latin works of anti-Muslim polemic, and had conducted a series of discussions and correspondence with other scholars interested in Islam, in particular with Juan de Segovia (q.v.). In many ways, in this analytical exploration of the Qur’an, he re…


(5,051 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
The articles collected in these two volumes, CMR 2 and CMR 3 deal with Christian-Muslim relations during the period 900-1200.  By the beginning of this period, the Abbasid caliphate was firmly ensconced as the major power of a large region stretching from the Hindu Kush to the Atlantic.  Within the caliphate lived large communities of Christians and significant (though smaller) communities of Jews and Zoroastrians.  By 900, the status of dhimmī attributed to these minority communities was well established in law and custom, as we have seen in volume 1.  A multitud…

Eulogius of Cordova = Eulógio of Córdoba = Eulógio of Toledo

(509 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Eulogius of Cordova Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: 859 Date of Death: Cordova Place of Death: Cordova Biography Eulogius received part of his education from Speraindeo (q.v.), abbot of St Zoylus. He became a deacon, then a priest (dates uncertain) and is known to have traveled as far north as Pamplona. He is best known for his works defending the martyrs of Cordova, forty-nine Christians put to death for blasphemy (in most cases for publicly insulting Islam and its Prophet in a deliberate attempt to provoke…

Guido Terrena de Perpignan

(259 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Guido Terrena Date of Birth: Last quarter of the 13th century Place of Birth: Perpignan Date of Death: 21 August 1342 Place of Death: Probably Avignon Biography Guido Terrena studied theology in Paris, obtaining the degree of magister theologiae in 1312. He subsequently became regent master, then provincial of the Carmelites. He was general prior of the order from 1318 to 1321, then bishop of Majorca from 1321 to 1332, and afterwards Elna from 1332 to 1342. Guido was the author of a number of treatises on theology, philosophy and canon law, in particular commentaries: on Peter Lombard’s Sent…

 Gesta regum Anglorum

(456 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
The deeds of the kings of the English, History of the English kings William of Malmesbury Date: 1125 (1st edition); 1135-40 (revised version) Original Language: Latin Description Queen Matilda, consort of Henry I, apparently asked William to produce a history of the kings of England. The result, the Gesta regum Anglorum, is a sweeping national chronicle that goes from the death of Bede in 735 to his own day: this clearly indicates that Bede was a model for William, whose chronicle is a sort of continuation of the Northumbrian monk’s Ecclesiastical history of the English people. William’s …

 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.…

 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…

Martyrdom of Bishop Thiemo

(26 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Biography - Primary Sources of Information - Secondary Sources of Information - Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Passio Thiemonis Archiepiscopi John Tolan

Jacques de Vitry

(741 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Jacobus Vitriacus, James of Vitry, Jakob von Vitry Date of Birth: 1160-70 Place of Birth: Probably Vitry en Perthois Date of Death: 1 May 1240 Place of Death: Rome Biography Jacques was born in the 1160s into a noble family of the Perthois, probably Vitry en Perthois, in Champagne (see M.-G. Grossel’s trans. of Historia orientalis, pp. 7-8). He studied in Paris with preaching masters Jean de Liro and Jean de Nivelles, who in turn had been taught by Peter the Chanter. Jacques proved to be the most effective and prolific preacher trained in this milie…

 Passio Thiemonis Archiepiscopi

(818 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Passio beati Thiemonis, juvanensis archiepiscopi Martyrdom of Archbishop Thiemo Martyrdom of Bishop Thiemo Date: Early 12th century Original Language: Latin Description Three hagiographical texts narrate the martyrdom of Archbishop Thiemo of Salzburg, who died in the crusade of 1101. The versions vary slightly, but accord in the events narrated. Thiemo, we are told, along with Duke Welf of Bavaria, led a group of Bavarians and Swabians toward Jerusalem, which was already under the rule of crusader Godfrey. As they a…

Adomnán of Iona, Adamnan, Adomnanus, Adamnanus

(125 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Adomnán of Iona Date of Birth: c. 625 Place of Birth: County Donegal, Ireland Date of Death: 704 Place of Death: Iona Abbey, Scotland Biography Adomnán was an Irish monk, who in 679 became the Abbot of Iona, the foremost Irish monastery in Scotland. He is best known as the author of a life of Saint Columba, founder of Iona, and of a treatise of law, the Cain Adomnan. Primary Sources of Information Bede, Ecclesiastical history of the English people, ed. J. McClure and R. Collins, Oxford, 1994 Betha Adamnain: Life of Saint Adamnan, ed. and trans. M. Herbert and P.Ó Riain, Dublin, 1988 Secondary Sou…

 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…

 Liber apologeticus martyrum

(166 words)

Author(s): Tolan, John
Book in defense of the martyrs Eulogius of Cordova = Eulógio of Córdoba = Eulógio of Toledo Date: 857-59 Original Language: Latin Description Here Eulogius combines a general defense of the martyrs’ claim to sanctity with specific hagiographical narratives, in this case involving the passions of Rudericus and Salomon who died on 13 March 857. In the course of this work Eulogius makes passing reference to a new persecution launched by the emir Muḥammad I. He incorporates into this work the Istoria de Mahomet (q.v.). Significance This is one of the earliest attempts in Latin to pr…
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