Thursday, January 26, 2017

Raymond Lullus - Missionary

The Crusades had failed. The Crusaders had gained Jerusalem and lost it again and eventually had lost all the rest of their possessions in the area. Near the end there arose a more Biblical approach to dealing with Muslims. It was begun by Francis of Assisi and involved sending unarmed preachers to try to persuade Muslims of the truth of Christianity. But the key person to try to further this approach was Raymond Lullus.

Lullus took this approach seriously, making three journeys into Muslim territories to preach to them. On his last journey he was stoned to death. He also attempted to start schools to teach Arabic and other relevant languages as well as theological knowledge to prepare missionaries to reach out to Muslims. He also wanted to use these schools to prepare students to reach out to Jews. He tried unsuccessfully to get papal support for this. Also, in my opinion on a more dubious level, he came up with his own mystical and esoteric approach to theological knowledge that he hoped would help convince Muslims.

In the end Lullus' approach also failed. This could be due to lack of support. It could be others were unwilling to follow Lullus into a situation where they would have a high probability of losing their lives. Also, the Crusades had hardened Muslims against Christians, making them unwilling to listen. I further suspect his complicated approach to theology repelled rather than attracted people. But at least he was approaching this the right way, the way of peace rather than the way of force.  

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