Sons of Ishmael: Muslims through European Eyes in the Middle Ages

Sons of Ishmael: Muslims through European Eyes in the Middle Ages

by John V. Tolan


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John Tolan is one of the world's foremost scholars in the field of early Christian/Muslim interactions. These eleven essays explore, in greater depth than his previous books, a wide variety of topics.
The Bible and Qur’an agree that Arabs were the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar. Ishmael is described in Genesis as "a wild man; his hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him." To many medieval Christians, this was a prophecy of the violence and enmity between Ishmael’s progeny and the Christians--spiritual descendants of his half-brother Isaac.
Yet Tolan also discusses areas of convergence between Christendom and Islam such as the devotion to the Virgin Mary in twelfth-century Syria and Egypt and the chivalrous myths surrounding Muslim princes, especially Saladin.
By providing a closer look at the ways Europeans perceived Islam and Muslims in the Middle Ages, Tolan opens a window into understanding the roots of current stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs in Western culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813044675
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication date: 04/15/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

John V. Tolan, professor of history at the University of Nantes, is the author of numerous books, including the acclaimed Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination.

Table of Contents

Introduction     ix
Antihagiography: Embrico of Mainz's Vita Mahumeti     1
A Mangled Corpse: The Polemical Dismemberment of Muhammad     19
Rhetoric, Polemics, and the Art of Hostile Biography: Portraying Muhammad in Thirteenth-Century Christian Spain     35
Peter the Venerable on the "Diabolical Heresy of the Saracens"     46
The Dream of Conversion: Baptizing Pagan Kings in the Crusade Epics     66
Mirror of Chivalry: Saladin in the Medieval European Imagination     79
Veneratio Sarracenorum: Shared Devotion among Muslims and Christians, According to Burchard of Strasbourg, Envoy from Frederic Barbarossa to Saladin (c. 1175)     101
Saracen Philosophers Secretly Deride Islam     113
Walls of Hatred and Contempt: The Anti-Muslim Polemics of Pedro Pascual     133
A Dreadful Racket: The Clanging of Bells and the Yowling of Muezzins in Iberian Interconfessional Polemics     147
Notes     161
Bibliography     201
Credits     223
Index     225

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