The Ornament of the World

by María Rosa Menocal
Start Free Trial

The Abbott and the Quran Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on April 9, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 426

This chapter opens in Cluny, a cultural epicenter that housed the largest church at the time. In 1140, Peter the Venerable protected Peter Abelard, a controversial clergyman, from Bernard of Clairvaux, a fundamentalist Cistercian. Abelard had been tried by Bernard for heresy and condemned by the pope, but Peter the Venerable granted Abelard sanctuary in Cluny. Abelard died in 1142 under Peter’s protection, and his body was brought to his wife, Heloise, after Peter took a journey south of the Pyrenees.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The journey south was generally uneventful for Peter, as many Cluniac monasteries existed even beyond the Pyrenees, especially since Alfonso VI had taken control of Toledo. The Andalusian Christians resisted Cluniac influence, as they generally appreciated Arabic culture, which the Cluniac church hoped to dismantle. Still, Peter’s primary goal was to solicit help in translating the Quran into Latin. He eventually found a translator in the Englishman Robert of Ketton, who became the first official European translator of the Quran.

Homework Help

Latest answer posted May 9, 2020, 4:08 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

In this era, there was much intellectual and cultural transformation of Christian Latin Europe, with Abelard seeing only the beginning of it before his death. However, Abelard’s learning versus that of Judah Halevi shows how advanced the Arabic world was; while Halevi was rejecting swaths of philosophical doctrine, Abelard, educated by European standards, had no contact with these philosophies and was only somewhat versed in the writings of Aristotle due to a lack of access to full texts. Instead, Abelard’s intellectual work was in attempting to explain Christianity through logic, which led to the charge of heresy against him. He would, unfortunately, die before the explosion of information that was emerging from the Andalusian world, such as the writings of Petrus, Robert of Ketton, and Halevi, to name a few.

The Latin translations of the Quran included a number of other religious texts and stories related to Muhammad and his successors. While the translation of these texts is often seen as a way that Christians could combat Muslims and Jews ideologically, Menocal asserts that there were alternate reasons for Peter’s translation. After all, Peter respected those who were “children of the book” and believed they were all potentially worthy of Christ’s grace. In translating the Quran, Peter believed that by coming into contact with non-Christian ideas, his own faith could be tested and strengthened. Peter knew that to strengthen his own resolve and sate his curiosity about other beliefs, he would need to experience the Spanish cities so heavily influenced by Islamic and Jewish culture, as well as the Quran itself.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Sailing Away, Riding Away Summary

Next

Gifts Summary