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

John V. Tolan

Details: 250 pages    6 x 9
Paper: $21.95   ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-4467-5   
Pubdate: 3/16/2008
Review(s): 4 available

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Overview

"This collection will be welcomed by anyone working on the interactions of the Muslim and Christian worlds in the Middle Ages--and the more casual reader will be struck by the persistence of stereotypes on both sides of the divide." --Medium Aevum LXXIX

"The essays explore what, from the ninth to the fourteenth century, Western Christian clerks and kings, monks and abbots, friars and bishops, and scholars and poets wrote about Muslims and Islam…. Tolan's book is among the best in the field." --Journal of Religion

"Considers such examples as portrayals of Muhammad in thirteenth-century Spain, Saladin in the medieval European imagination, and Saracen philosophers who secretly deride Islam…. Tolan is an engaging writer, accessible to the general as well as the scholarly reader." --Book News

"Tolan has a talent for unraveling often tangled threads and subplots in a complex and intriguing story." --Religion and the Arts

"Tolan's writing distinguishes itself by being insightful, nuanced, and magnificently lucid as well as highly accessible. Certain chapters will particularly enthrall: the chapter on Saladin will be one favorite; the chapter on the floating coffin of prophet Muhammad--a rhetorical masterpiece--will delight and fascinate. Every chapter is illuminating." --Geraldine Heng, University of Texas

The Bible and the Qur'ân agree that the Arabs were the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar. To many medieval Christians, the description of Ishmael in Genesis ("a wild man; his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him") was a prophecy of the violence and enmity between Ishmael’s progeny and the Christians--spiritual descendants of his half-brother Isaac. John Tolan, one of the world’s foremost authorities on early Christian/Muslim interactions, offers ten essays that explore the history of conflict and convergence between Latin Christendom and the Arab Muslim world during the Middle Ages, deepening our understanding of the roots of current stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs in Western Culture.

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

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