The Western Understanding of Islamic Theology in the Middle Ages - Mendicant Responses to Islam from Riccoldo da Monte di Croce to Marquard von Lindau

Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 74 (1):169-224 (2007)
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This article examines the defence of the immaculate conception of Mary in the works of the Franciscan Marquard von Lindau, principally the Dekalogerklärung, one of the five most widely transmitted vernacular works in pre-Reformation Germany. It establishes that Marquard’s justification rests on a set of pertinent Qur’ānic and related Islamic texts that he has collected together from the Pugio fidei, an anti-Jewish treatise in Hebrew and Latin by the Spanish Dominican Ramón Martí. Marquard’s explicit preference for the Islamic doctrine over the Dominican position, itself perfectly orthodox, regarding the issue displays an unprecedented receptivity towards Islamic theology, which is indicative of a more widespread renewed intellectual engagement with Islam and its doctrines outside the confines of religious polemics on the part of a series of notable mendicants in the period 1300-1450, including Riccoldo da Monte di Croce, Nicholas of Lyra and Robert Holcot. The evidence for the transmission and reception of Islamic theology in the period from the fall of Acre to the fall of Constantinople displays not intellectual stagnation, but the existence of a widened mental space in the period after the demise of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in which aspects of Islam both could and had to be evaluated in original and surprisingly often non-polemical ways.



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