Arabic-Islamic Views of the Latin West provides an insight into how the Arabic-Islamic world perceived medieval Western Europe in an age that is usually associated with the rise and expansion of Islam, the Spanish Reconquista, and the Crusades. Previous scholarship has maintained that the Arabic-Islamic world regarded Western Europe as a cultural backwater at the periphery of civilization that clung to a superseded religion. It holds mental barriers imposed
by Islam responsible for the Muslim world's arrogant and ignorant attitude towards its northern neighbours. This study refutes this view by focussing on the mechanisms of transmission and reception that characterized the flow of information between both cultural spheres. By explaining how Arabic-Islamic
scholars acquired and processed data on medieval Western Europe, it traces the two-fold 'emergence' of Latin-Christian Europe - a sphere that increasingly encroached upon the Mediterranean and therefore became more and more important in Arabic-Islamic scholarly literature.
Chapter One questions previous interpretations of related Arabic-Islamic records that reduce a large and differentiated range of Arabic-Islamic perceptions to a single basic pattern subsumed under the keywords 'ignorance', 'indifference', and 'arrogance'. Chapter Two lists channels of transmission by means of which information on the Latin-Christian sphere reached the Arabic-Islamic sphere. Chapter Three deals with the general factors that influenced the reception and presentation of this data
at the hands of Arabic-Islamic scholars. Chapters Four to Eight analyse how these scholars acquired and dealt with information on themes such as the western dimension of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths, the Franks, the papacy and, finally, Western Europe in the age of Latin-Christian expansionism.
Against this background, Chapter Nine provides a concluding re-evaluation.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 452
Weight: 826 g
Dimensions: 241 x 172 x 31 mm
Koenig's work marks a major contribution to the historiography of Christian-Muslim contact in the Middle Ages and constitutes a valuable collection of research on the history of the Latin West according to non-Latin sources. ... Koenig's magisterial study helps us to view the history of intercultural contact in its complexity rather than reduce it into factitious and self-aggrandizing generalizations. * Ryan Szpiech, Der Islam *
Arabic-Islamic Views of the Latin West will be a key resource for future scholars interested in medieval Muslims' views of their non-Muslim neighbours. * Harry Munt, Reviews in History *
The breadth of Koenig's survey is certainly impressive, and the conclusions he draws are important contributions to scholarship. And it may also be said that his investigation should be a necessary reference for future scholarship within the field ... Koenig provides a much needed systematic investigation that convincingly and robustly traces the emergence of medieval Europe in the minds of medieval Arabic-Islamic thinkers. Establishing this process of
emergence in itself is an indispensible contribution to scholarship, as it overturns some of the most misleading assertions that have shaped the study of this subject in the past. * Eyad Abuali, Americal Journal of Islamic Social Sciences *