There has been a growing interest over the years in Latin works dedicated to the study of Islam. The Latin lives of Muhammad, derogatory throughout, were written with the clear intention of undermining Islam by deriding its founder. In all likelihood, these works were based on the erroneous theological assumption – or rather Christian prejudice – that the life of Muhammad in Islam had a similar meaning to that of Jesus in Christianity, an obvious misapprehension. That is why the Latin lives of Muhammad usually include scenes in which the prophet of Islam engages in failed attempts to imitate the miracles of Jesus, with disappointing and often ridiculous or disastrous results.
We review here the Medieval Latin Lives of Muhammad by Julian Yolles and Jessica Weiss. The Latin texts derive mostly from earlier editions but have been revised and corrected by the editors and are thus well edited. The English translations are clear and richly annotated. This collection will be of interest to scholars of medieval polemical literature, the history of Arabic-to-Latin translation, and sources on Christian-Muslim relations. The translations, for their part, will be invaluable to students and specialists alike.
Read Full Article >>