Monks and the Muslim Enemy: Conversion, Polemic and Resistance in Monastic Hagiography in the Age of the Crusades, c. 1000–1250

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Although most accounts of Christian encounters with Muslims in the period between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries pay particular attention to conflict and violence, a body of hagiographical texts emanating from monastic circles points to a different kind of approach. In this article I foreground three examples of Italo-Greek saints’ lives from the tenth and early eleventh centuries in which the saints in question treat Muslims whom they encounter as potential converts, and explain to them the tenets of Christian theology. These texts are examined as precursors of the Cluniac ‘dossier’ compiled about Abbot Maiolus's encounter with Muslims in the 990s. Two of the three saints’ lives were translated from Greek into Latin, one in the late eleventh, the other in the late twelfth century. The motives for and circumstances of these translations are discussed in light of growing hostility towards the Islamic world during the period of the crusades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalTransactions of the Royal Historical Society
Early online date16 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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