In his book Faces of Muhammad: Western Perceptions of the Prophet of Islam from the Middle Ages to Today (Princeton UP, 2019), John Tolan analyzes the perceptions of Muhammad as understood by Christian Europeans. He shows the complexity and variety of these portrayals in a broad range of sources from theater to religion and often reflecting the writers’ own entanglements at home.
In this discussion, with Shehnaz Haqqani as the host, Tolan talks about the main arguments of the book by highlighting particular depictions of Muhammad, the contexts in which they were shaped, the legends involved and so on.
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John Tolan works on the history of religious and cultural relations between the Arab and Latin worlds in the Middle Ages and on the history of religious interaction and conflict between Jews, Christians and Muslims. He is author of numerous articles and books in medieval history and cultural studies, including Petrus Alfonsi and his Medieval Readers (1993) Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (2002), Sons of Ishmael: Muslims through European Eyes in the Middle Ages (2008), Saint Francis and the Sultan: The Curious History of a Christian-Muslim Encounter (2009), and (with Gilles Veinstein and Henry Laurens) Europe and the Islamic World (2012). He has served as director of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Ange Guépin) and principal investigator of the ERC advanced grant program “RELMIN: The legal status of religious minorities in the Euro-Mediterranean world” (2010-2015: http://relmin.univ-nantes.fr/ ). He is Chairman of the ERC’s SH6 panel “The Study of the Human Past” (for starting grants) for 2017.
Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. Her primary research areas include Islam, gender, and interreligious marriage. She has a YouTube channel called What the Patriarchy, where she vlogs about feminism and Islam in an effort to dismantle the patriarchy.