chapter  5
Moslem—Christian Understanding in Mediaeval Times
ByJames Kritzeck
Pages 14

During the thirteen centuries of their particular co-existence, Islam and Christianity have shown astonishingly little intellectual curiosity about one another. Through the contacts history has afforded them, contacts marked to be sure by other intellectual achievements, a general state of mutual understanding seldom better than elementary has persisted. Norman Daniel's Islam and the West: The Making of an Image is an exceptionally learned, beautifully written, and sadly over-due study of the distorted image of Islam in mediaeval Europe. Additional reference works, especially biographical dictionaries, will be necessary for the non-specialist because there is no identification of the authors cited and mediaeval Christians in Europe who concerned themselves seriously with Islam were not, save for a few exceptions, eminent persons. Although Christians were absorbed in immense numbers as dhimmis by the Islamic community, the most vital centers of Christianity remained outside it. Nonetheless, the special plight of Christians under Moslem rule can be exaggerated.