Abstract: Studies about Christian perceptions of Islam and other non-Christian cultures in the Middle Ages in recent years have tended to focus on individual authors and their works. New research in the field of manuscript philology, particularly its focus on the idea of the “whole book,” however, suggests some new interpretive vistas that can sharpen our understanding of how medieval readers engaged with, and responded to, texts about the non-Christian Other. This article takes as its subject a twelfth-century miscellany manuscript from the Westfalian monastery of Grafschaft that constitutes a remarkable dossier of hagiographical and exegetical texts relating to Muslims, pagans, and holy war. This codex, Darmstadt Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Cod. 749, offers a window onto how works dealing with these subjects were read not only on their own terms, but in dynamic relationship to one another. Focusing on the associative resonances between the different works in a single manuscript allows us to understand how one monastic community in northern Germany sought to place the twelfth-century Crusades in a broader historical and theological context. The results of such an approach complicate the traditional Christian-Muslim binary we usually encounter in studies of Crusading or medieval views of non-Christians, underscoring how one community of medieval readers thought about the problem of religious conflict in several temporal, geographic, and conceptual dimensions.
Traditio – Fordham University Press
Published: Feb 23, 2017
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