Rhetoric, Polemics, and the Art of Hostile Biography

John V. Tolan

in Sons of Ishmael

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032221
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038964 | DOI:
Rhetoric, Polemics, and the Art of Hostile Biography

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter discusses and compares several accounts of the life of Muhammad that were written in the Iberian peninsula during the second half of the thirteenth century by Ramon Martí, King Alfonso X of Castile and León, and Pedro Pascual. Two of these authors, namely King Alfonso X and Pedro Pascual, were taken by earlier historians to have indiscriminately mixed Muslim sources and scurrilous Christian legends in order to create strangely hybrid and derogatory accounts of Muhammad's life. However, they can also be read as carefully constructing an image of the Muslim prophet that could be both recognizable in its partial accuracy, and effective in denying legitimacy to Muhammad and his followers.

Keywords: Muhammad; Iberian peninsula; Ramon Martí; King Alfonso X; Pedro Pascual; Muslim sources; Christian legends; Muslim prophet

Chapter.  4796 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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