"John Tolan has gathered together hard-to-find individual studies, thematically grouped to present a certain counterpoint of themes, actors, and interests that interweave throughout. Every chapter is illuminating. The one on Saladin will attract a good deal of attention: today, as in the Middle Ages and all centuries in between, Saladin is a magnet to readers. On the legend of the floating coffin of prophet Mohammad, Tolan offers a rhetorical masterpiece, delightful and fascinating. The study is insightful, nuanced, and magnificently lucid--not boringly pedantic or stultifying--indeed highly accessible for anyone seeking an intelligent understanding of historical interaction among the Abrahamic faiths."--Geraldine Heng, University of Texas"Sons of Ishmael" is the epithet that many Christian writers of the Middle Ages gave to Muslims. "Sons of Ishmael" focuses on the history of conflict and convergence between Latin Christendom and the Arab Muslim world during this period.John Tolan is one of the world's foremost scholars in the field of early Christian/Muslim interactions. These eleven essays explore, in greater depth than his previous books, a wide variety of topics.The Bible and Qur'an agree that Arabs were the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar. Ishmael is described in Genesis as "a wild man; his hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him." To many medieval Christians, this was a prophecy of the violence and enmity between Ishmael's progeny and the Christians--spiritual descendants of his half-brother Isaac.Yet Tolan also discusses areas of convergence between Christendom and Islam such as the devotion to the Virgin Mary in twelfth-century Syria and Egypt and the chivalrous myths surrounding Muslim princes, especially Saladin.By providing a closer look at the ways Europeans perceived Islam and Muslims in the Middle Ages, Tolan opens a window into understanding the roots of current stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs in Western culture.John V. Tolan is professor of history at the University of Nantes.
Sons of Ishmael by John V Tolan was published by University Press of Florida in March 2013. The ISBN for Sons of Ishmael is 9780813044675.