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Riccoldo da Monte di Croce and the Origins of the Qur’an as a Deviation from Christian Salvation History

From the book The Latin Qur’an, 1143–1500

  • Davide Scotto


Despite what has been disclosed so far about Riccoldo’s familiarity with the (Arabic and Latin) Qur’an and the variety of religious groups spread across the Near East, scholars have largely underestimated the value of his theological and exegetical thinking. As a consequence, Riccoldo’s reflection on the soteriological opposition between Christianity and Islam, which is at the core of both his Epistole ad Ecclesiam Triumphantem and his Liber contra legem Sarracenorum, has been substantially overlooked. It is, however, his very interpretation of the Qur’an based on Christian salvation history that explains the considerable effort he put into the study of Arabic and confutation of Islamic doctrine. This essay tackles one aspect of Christian salvation history - the role of the devil in attempting to orient the revelation of the divine word - which helps clarify the main concerns behind Riccoldo’s polemic against the Qur’an, suggesting a different way to think about the reasons for its wide dissemination in Europe and beyond.

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