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Medieval Exegesis and Religious DifferenceCommentary, Conflict, and Community in the Premodern Mediterranean$
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Ryan Szpiech

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264629

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264629.001.0001

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The Anti-Muslim Discourse of Alfonso Buenhombre

The Anti-Muslim Discourse of Alfonso Buenhombre

(p.87) 5 The Anti-Muslim Discourse of Alfonso Buenhombre
Medieval Exegesis and Religious Difference

Antoni Biosca i Bas

Fordham University Press

This essay studies the anti-Muslim discourse of Alfonso Buenhombre, a fourteenth-century Dominican, who was the author of two anti-Jewish texts, including the Epistola Rabbi Samuelis (Epistle of Rabbi Samuel), which would end up being among the most widely copied and printed anti-Jewish polemics of the later Middle Ages. Numerous copies of this text, which takes the form of letters between two rabbis discussing Christian belief, contain a final chapter dedicated to Islam. Material for this final chapter in the Epistola was drawn from Buenhombre’s later work, the Disputatio Abutalib (Dispute of Abu Talib), which similarly comprises letters between a Muslim and a Jew. Buenhombre falsely claimed to have translated the texts from Arabic and passed off as Muslim certain ideas about Islam drawn from Ramon Martí, Nicholas of Lyra, and other Christian writers. This analysis points to the importance among medieval Dominican exegetes of the appeal to “authentic” Jewish and Muslim sources, even to the extent of creating fictional characters and texts to offer “testimony” in support of Christian interpretations.

Keywords:   Alfonso Buenhombre (Alphonsus Bonihomnis), Christian Anti-Muslim Polemic, Christian Anti-Jewish Polemic, Dominicans, fourteenth century

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