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Document Details :
Title: Paul of Antioch's Letter to a Muslim Friend
Subtitle: An Argument from Universality against Islam
Author(s): KATTAN, Assaad Elias
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 73 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2021
The letter written by Paul of Antioch, the Melkite Bishop of Sidon, to one of his Muslim friends (around 1200?) may be regarded as 'perhaps the apogee of the Christian attempt to make use of passages from the Qur’ān for apologetic purposes' (Sidney Griffith). At the beginning of this letter, Paul refers to a sojourn in what he calls 'the homelands of the Romans, Constantinople, the country of Amalfi, some Frankish provinces, and Rome'. It has long been speculated whether this sojourn has to be viewed as historical or as a mere fiction, yet the question about its function within the broader framework of Paul’s apology for Christianity has hardly been raised. In this paper, I suggest that this trip has to be read against the background of an argument from universality against Islam. Though not as elaborate as the Christian interpretation of the Qur’ān Griffith rightly points to, this argument seems to be one of Paul’s underlying principles when it comes to the ‘superiority’ of Christianity.