Book Series Medieval Voyaging, vol. 1

A Christian Pilgrim in Medieval Iraq

Riccoldo da Montecroce's Encounter with Islam

Rita George-Tvrtkovic

  • Pages: xvii + 248 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:6 b/w
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2013

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53237-0
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55852-3
  • E-book
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"Der Autorin gelingt es, die Besonderheiten von Riccoldos Islambild gegenüber Darstellungen anderer mittelalterlicher christlicher Autoren herauszuarbeiten sowie theologisch signifikante Aspekte seiner Islamtheologie einschließlich der widersprüchlichen Aussagen näher zu beleuchten." (Stefan Schröder, in: Sehepunkte, Ausgabe 14 (2014), Nr. 7/8)

"The monograph gives an excellent introduction to a figure that should be much better known. In addition, the volume provides the welcome bonus of translations of both the Liber peregrinationis and the Epistolae, which have never before been translated fully into English. This will broaden the appeal of the book considerably; both are fascinating texts that could be assigned in any undergraduate or graduate class." (Christopher MacEvitt, in: The Medieval Review 14.09.08)

" (...) Damit hat sie einen wertvollen Beitrag zu einem vertieften Verständnis eines Autors geleistet, der wie wenige andere das Bild des Islam im ausgehenden Mittelalter und in der frühen Neuzeit geprägt hat." (Klaus-Peter Todt, in: Archa Verbi, 11, 2014, p. 212-214)

"(...) cette bonne monographie élargit utilement notre connaissance des contacts avec l'islam et de la vision du monde qu'avait l'Occident médiéval." (Guy Monnot, dans: Bulletin critique des Annales islamologiques, 29, 2014, p. 96)

“This is a fascinating, well researched study, not only of Riccoldo and medieval Christian view of Islam, but indirectly also of a scholar trying to make sense of his life and works and present them to her readers clearly and convincingly.” (David Waines, in Islam & Christian-Muslim Relations, 27/4, 2016, p. 531)


This book analyses the events of a decade long encounter between an Italian Dominican, Riccoldo da Montecroce (c. 1243–1320), and the Muslims of Baghdad, as recounted by the friar himself. While many of Riccoldo’s views of the Muslims are consonant with those of his medieval confrères, the author examines the much more ambivalent sections of his writings, such as his praise-filled descriptions of Muslim praxis, his obvious love of Qur’anic Arabic, his frequent references to personal encounters with Muslims, and his candid descriptions of the wonder and doubt which these confrontations often elicited. The author argues that the tensions and inconsistencies inherent in Riccoldo’s account of Islam should not be viewed as defects. Rather, she contends, their presence illustrates the complex nature of interreligious encounter itself. In addition to a critical discussion, this volume provides — for the first time — English translations of two remarkable Riccoldian texts: The Book of Pilgrimage (Liber peregrinationis) and Letters to the Church Triumphant (Epistolae ad ecclesiam triumphantem).




Chapter 1. Riccoldo in situ

Chapter 2. Beyond Polemic: Genres and Context of Medieval ‘Dialogue’

Chapter 3. Muslim Works of Perfection

Chapter 4. ‘I Read It in Arabic!’

Chapter 5. Questioning Salvation History

Chapter 6. Wonder, Doubt, and Dissonance: Riccoldo’s Theology of Islam


Appendix A. Five Letters on the Fall of Acre (1291)

Appendix B. The Book of Pilgrimage

Select Bibliography