Tieszen, Charles, Cross Veneration in the Medieval Islamic World: Christian Identity and Practice under Muslim Rule

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

Abstract

Any satisfactory account of inter-religious dialogue and debate should illuminate the perspective of more than just one party to the discussion. Charles Tieszen’s new book does this admirably. Drawing on a wide range of argumentative texts composed by both Christian and Muslim authors between the eighth century and the fourteenth, Tieszen provides a detailed and thoughtful analysis of how the idea and practice of cross veneration served as a kind of rhetorical whetstone against which writers on both sides of this medieval religious divide attempted to sharpen the truth claims of their respective faiths. Among the many insights of this valuable study is the conclusion that ‘disputational literature’ (p. 6) dealing with cross veneration was not penned simply to score points in esoteric theological debates. Rather, one of the key concerns of authors writing in this genre was to delineate the boundaries of their faith more clearly, and thereby reinforce the
religious identity of their readers, in a milieu in which they believed it was in
urgent need of strengthening. Such texts could therefore fulfil a hortatory and self-reflexive purpose just as readily as they could function as polemical weapons or apologetic instruments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages203–4
Number of pages2
Volume35
No.1
Specialist publicationParergon
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • christian identity
  • cross veneration
  • medieval religious divide

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