The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation

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Viking, 2004 - Religion - 182 pages
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Richard Fletcher is one of today’s most renowned medieval historians. In his latest book, he offers a brilliant survey of the relationship between the Islamic and Christian worlds from the seventh to the sixteenth centuries. He shows how, despite long periods of coexistence and overlap, religious misunderstanding between “the peoples of the book” has been present since their earliest encounters. He argues that though there were fruitful trading and cultural interactions between Islam and Christianity during the period when Arabs controlled most of the Mediterranean world, neither side was remotely interested in the actual religion of the other. Christians portrayed Muslims as bloodthirsty pagans and Muhammad as a false prophet while Islam viewed Christianity as a jumble of sects and conflicting stories.

Fletcher’s lucidity, scholarship, and gift for compression make this one of the most elegant and clear-sighted contributions to its subject for many years. It will appeal to readers of Karen Armstrong’s bestselling Islam: A Short Historyand to all readers looking for a better understanding of the Islamic world’s relationship to the West.

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The cross and the crescent: the dramatic story of the earliest encounters between Christians and Muslims

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This illuminating study of Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages shows just how intractable the conflict between Islam and the West has always been. Historian Fletcher (Bloodfeud; Barbarian ... Read full review


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Crossing Frontiers

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About the author (2004)

Richard Fletcher recently retired from the University of York, where he was a professor of history.

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