Pleas for Peace, Problems for Historians: A 1455 Letter from Juan de Segovia to Jean Germain on Countering the Threat of Islam
Anne Marie Wolf
Given all the interest in the past decade or two in the marginal and the “other” in both the medieval and the early modern periods, it is perhaps surprising that so much still awaits exploration concerning Christian perceptions of Muslims. Norman Daniel’s classic Islam and the West documented the central themes of Christian thinking about Islam in such a way that readers are left dumbfounded by the persistent inaccuracy and intense animosity that have characterized Christians’ portrayals of Muslims and their beliefs.1 Possibly because Daniel so thoroughly exposed the long tradition of Christian intransigence toward Islam, Christian perceptions of Muslims have not benefited from as much painstaking analysis as the Christian discourse about Jews. According to John V. Tolan, author of a recent book on the subject, Daniel’s own reaction to the image of Islam that he studied was “to shake his head in sad consternation.”2 Indeed, Daniel’s presentation of a long tradition of vitriolic disdain, masterful and learned though it is, leaves readers with more consternation than understanding. My very bright students one summer, for instance, were incredulous at the steady stream of invective that Daniel documented. They wondered why so many people actually believed and perpetuated those medieval writers’ portrayals of Islam. Their reaction was understandable; Daniel offered no explanation for these habits of thinking.
Tolan’s welcome addition to the scholarship on Christian portrayals of Islam addresses the question of how a long and intransigent tradition of vitriolic disdain had explanations other than stubborn irrationality or simple intellectual weakness on the part of Christian Europe. Arguing that individual European authors wrote with specific audiences and aims in mind, Tolan nonetheless offered the general observation that these writers found themselves perplexed before the mystery of a highly advanced, expanding Islamic civilization. This was a mystery because it begged the question of how God could allow Christian Europe to be defeated and challenged. European writers argued vigorously that their own faith was superior because they needed to discourage conversions to Islam and justify their leaders’ military endeavors against the Muslim threat. Their disdain for Islam was rooted in social and geopolitical realities rather than irrationality or intellectual weakness.3
Any attempt to survey centuries of widely-held perceptions necessarily paints the picture in broad strokes. Regardless of whether Europeans’ notions of Muslims were driven by incomprehensible blindness, as Daniel seems to suggest, or by political and social circumstances, as Tolan explains, a set of core themes emerged in European thought on Islam, and it dominated subsequent centuries. It is tempting to impute, as some have, a certain inevitability to the caricatures and misinformation perpetuated about Muslims, as if Europeans could not help themselves. Perhaps, some would argue, their patterns of thought were too parochial, too dominated by Christian paradigms, for them to conceive of a truly new approach to their neighbors to the east and south. According to this line of reasoning, Europeans did not possess the textual tools or habits of thought that might have enabled them to lower the volume on their venomous rhetoric and seek more accurate information about the other faith tradition. After all, the reasoning goes, there must be some explanation for the consistency, over centuries, in Christian writers’ perspectives on Islam.
However, the very tenaciousness and consistency in the canon of images about Islam raises an even more vexing question: What explains the fact that some individuals did think differently, especially after centuries of warfare had conditioned most to see Muslims as perpetual enemies? Did those whose thinking took new paths have different political ties or economic interests than their contemporaries who perpetuated such negative portrayals and urged war against these menacing “others”? On what did they base their unconventional perspective? Thinkers who struggled against the currents of their day to encourage fresh thinking about Islam offer modern scholars fresh perspective on the foundations of such concepts as tolerance, traditionally associated with the Enlightenment.4 Because they were thinking in ways that were so atypical, they also raise questions about the role of social context in determining one’s inclinations toward other Religions.
One such thinker was Juan Alfonso de Segovia (d. 1458), a Spanish theologian best known to scholars of the late medieval Church. He was one of the leading conciliarists at the Council of Basel (1431-1448).5 In the final years of his life, he left other works unfinished and dedicated his time to writing on the proper Christian stance toward the Muslim world. Segovia had been interested in Islam earlier, but he turned to this topic in earnest when news arrived at his alpine priory of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. From his retirement in Aiton, in modern-day France, he wrote to Cardinal Juan de Cervantes in Seville, Nicholas of Cusa, French theologian Jean Germain, and Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who was soon to be Pope Pius II.6 Segovia knew all four personally from his years at Basel. In these letters, some of which were quite lengthy, he argued vigorously that Christians should not wage war on Muslims. Though he enlisted historical precedent in his arguments, reminding his eminent readers that previous crusades had not succeeded, the authority he relied upon most heavily was undoubtedly scripture. This paper will explore the reasoning of this prolific and creative Castilian intellectual, focusing on his use of scripture in the arguments that he made to Jean Germain in December, 1455.7
Juan Alfonso de Segovia’s letter to Germain, dated December 18, 1455, was not his first contact with the French bishop and theologian concerning Christian Europe’s stance toward Islam. In July of that year, Juan had sent Germain a brief letter outlining his thought on the matter, together with a copy of a letter on the same subject that he had sent to Nicholas of Cusa a year earlier, a document of twenty to thirty folios, depending on the script.8 In the materials, Segovia had proposed a high-level dialogue between Christian notables and their Muslim counterparts and an end to war and calls for a crusade. He had argued that Christians should strive not to kill Muslims, but to convert them, a task best accomplished through peaceful presentation of the true teachings of Christianity.9 Germain’s reply was not what Segovia had hoped. No copies are extant, but from the Castilian’s response to it we can infer that Germain scoffed at Segovia’s proposals. In his December 1455 letter to Germain, Juan wrote that his correspondent had called them “difficult, not useful, dangerous, and scandalous.”10 It is Juan’s objection to the last two of these charges that offers the most striking glimpse at the scriptural foundations of his proposals for peaceful dialogue.
In arguing that the dialogue he proposed was not dangerous, Segovia could have pointed to diplomats already operating in Ottoman lands or other such mundane examples of dialogues taking place with no harm to the parties involved. Instead, he reminded his French counterpart that, as the apostle Paul had stated, Christ would give the words and wisdom needed in order to be successful against all adversaries.11 In addition, he argued, any danger would be a danger only to the body. Had not Paul proclaimed that nothing, including danger or the sword, would separate Christians from the love of Christ? The apostle even wrote that because of Christ each day they were like lambs to the slaughter.12 Indeed, Segovia pointed out, the mission he proposed would not be any more dangerous than sending a few sheep out among wolves, which Christ himself had done. In fact, it would be less dangerous than engaging in wars. In adopting the way of peace and teaching instead of that of war, he wrote, Christians would be trusting not themselves, but God. This was precisely what their fathers had done, and they were freed from great dangers and gave thanks to God.13
Juan was at his most indignant when answering the charge that his proposals were scandalous. He compared the idea that converting the Muslims through the peaceful means of teaching was scandalous to an angel of Satan being transformed into an angel of light, or a person being scandalized by his own foot or hand. According to Segovia, nothing could be farther from the truth than the notion that peaceful teaching of the faith was scandalous to the Church.14
Contrasting his proposal with Germain’s call to arms, he conceded that Christ had sent his disciples out initially with no sack, bag, or shoes, but at the Last Supper had told each of them to take up a sack and a bag and to sell his tunic to buy a sword.15 This might seem to support those who would take up a sword against the Turks, but Segovia spent the next several folios explaining that the sword was not advisable and not likely to succeed. At the end of this discussion, he offered a new concept of sword that Christians could take up. The sword that Christians should brandish, he insisted, was the word of God, the two-edged sword that was more effective and more penetrating than all other swords. This sword had the power to divide souls and bind spirits and hearts together, and to detect innermost thoughts and intentions.16 So effective was this sword that if the Muslims heard the word of God, there could be little doubt that it would produce abundant results.17 He recalled that God had said that his word would not return to him empty, but would accomplish those things it was meant to do.18
Segovia was confident in his proposal that Christians should convert Muslims through peaceful preaching. His confidence came from the certainty that his plan conformed to God’s will as expressed in scripture. As he stated repeatedly, he was only advocating the approach that Christ himself had taken and urged on his followers. He wrote to Germain that the one who had told his disciples to go forth into the whole world and teach all nations had also promised to be with them until the end of time.19 Surely they could not fail. Those who read the gospel find there a command to love their enemies, do good to those who hate them, and pray for those who persecute and falsely accuse them.20 Segovia wrote that it was a malevolent soul that was saddened when an enemy who had been set on the right path escaped punishment.21 He reminded Germain that it is more loving to desire the transformation of enemies than to desire their punishment.22 Moreover, God did not support the quest for vengeance. Juan wrote that scripture taught that “whoever seeks to be avenged will find punishment from the Lord.”23 He acknowledged that there might be plenty of human laws that defined the circumstances under which a war was just, but he insisted that it was more worthy to act according to the laws of God and to recognize that God had reserved judgment to himself.24
Segovia’s path of peace would not only be preferable to that of war and closer to God’s own plans. It would be consistent with the very highest command that Christians had from Christ: to love. Reminding Germain that the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself was of paramount importance, Juan declared that nothing could be more loving than to work for the salvation of a neighbor’s soul.25 Germain had wondered how anyone could think of seeking peace with Muslims after what had happened in Constantinople, and Segovia dismissed this concern by recounting how Jesus had responded to those who had wronged him. Jesus had died on a cross in order to bring his persecutors around, and had even prayed that God would forgive them because they did not know what they were doing.26 Segovia thought this consummate act of God through Christ was particularly helpful in the crisis that confronted his world because the root of the Muslims’ animosity toward the Christians was precisely that they did not know what they were doing when they were killing Christians. They mistakenly thought that Christians worshipped more than one God.27 Juan’s proposed legation of peace would clarify the matter.28 He noted that Christ’s act of sacrifice on the cross had caused people to recognize their sin and error,29 suggesting that if Christians followed this path, the results would be same. The implication is that if Muslims were to see Christians as they really were, they would stop waging war against them. Peace would reign. If peace is of God, it could not be a scandal for those who love God’s ways.30
Juan de Segovia was surely not advocating a “live and let live” policy toward the Turks or toward Muslims more generally. In fact, in some sections of his works he reiterated the very denunciations of Islam that had become standard by his time. His goal was to persuade Christians to devote more energy to converting Muslims, if only through peaceful means. Thus his proposals would not fit most conceptions of religious tolerance. Nevertheless, his response to the events of 1453 differed dramatically from his peers’, and one cannot help noticing that his attitude toward Muslims, at least as expressed in passages such as those cited here, bordered on benevolence. Moreover, he did not set any deadline by which these conversion efforts must succeed, after which a more forceful approach would be justified. On the contrary, he argued that since peace and teaching were better strategies of conversion than war, haste had no place in the plans.31 Segovia was not arguing that peaceful dialogue aimed at conversion ought to be Christian Europe’s first line of defense, before more bellicose approaches were adopted. His argument was that peaceful teaching was the only approach that Christian scriptures supported.
His strategy of drawing his support so heavily from the Bible complicates the conventional thinking on the intellectual origins of toleration. According to the standard narrative, this position became possible with the Reformation and the subsequent emergence of rationalism and the work of such thinkers as John Locke and John Stuart Mill.32 Juan’s letter to Germain lends further support to efforts such as those by Nederman and Laursen to challenge the conventional account of when (and indeed whether) the West embraced religious tolerance. Segovia’s argument cannot properly be called tolerance. Perhaps it is closer to what Cary Nederman and John Christian Laursen called concordance, in which one temporarily acknowledged and permitted other faiths to exist, yearning all the while for the ultimate triumph of the "true faith."33 Nevertheless, the Castilian theologian’s argument leans far enough in the direction of tolerance to suggest that European thinkers possessed sufficient textual and conceptual tools to arrive at theories of tolerance well before the traditional narrative claims that they were supposed to have them. The texts that Segovia cited and the arguments he advanced, taken to their logical conclusions, certainly would have supported a stance of religious toleration. It would not have been much of a leap.
Others have insisted that discussions of interactions between religious groups need to focus on social history. In a recently published article, Charles Parker presented an examination of tolerance and violence under Dutch and Ottoman rule from just such a perspective and reminded us of recent scholarship that has focused on social interactions.34 The social and political context out of which Juan de Segovia emerged warrants our consideration, especially since scholars are quick to point out that, in Spain, Christians were more likely to interact with real Muslims than elsewhere in western Europe. Certainly the milieu in which Segovia spent the first decades of his life included Muslims, although apparently not many. He estimated that in the whole town there were barely fifty Muslims, and he described the great efforts he undertook ca. 1430 to find a Muslim interlocutor informed enough to discuss theology with him.35
The situation of the religious minorities in Castile, and Muslims in particular, in the early fifteenth century resists easy description. The traditional view has been that subject Muslims, or Mudéjars, typically lived in rural areas and earned their livelihood in agriculture and the building trades and thus existed outside the mainstream of Castilian social and power circles. Recent scholarship has shown that this view is distorted, and that the Muslim community included some whose connections with powerful noble families gave them a role in shaping political decisions in the kingdom.36 The fact that Christians in Spain could interact with Muslims at all made them an exception among western Europeans at the time, and it would be reasonable to expect that this environment, if any, would produce thinkers able to envision a less bellicose position toward the Muslim world.
This was not the case. The fifteenth century saw the implementation of new measures aimed at separating Muslims and Jews from Christians and diminishing the position of these confessional minorities. During Juan de Segovia’s youth, Fernando de Antequera and Queen Catherine of Lancaster, co-regents during the minority of Juan II (1406-1419), imposed toughened restrictions on non-Christians in Castile. The preaching of Vincent Ferrer throughout the kingdom in 1411 prompted many baptisms and helped to create an atmosphere of suspicion toward Castile’s religious minorities. The war with the Muslim kingdom of Granada, which shared Castile’s southern border, continued off and on.37 The interaction between members of different faiths afforded by fifteenth-century Spanish society did not lead most intellectuals to cite the gospels in support of a policy of non-violence toward Muslims. In fact, most endorsed violence, not restraint.38 One could argue that the ongoing war and social tensions of fifteenth-century Castile contributed to the repeated calls for war found in many treatises at the time, but one could not then argue that this same milieu led Juan de Segovia to reject that approach. If social context is the proper place to search for the roots of animosity or accommodation toward another religion, we must also recognize the limits of its explanatory power. There is no context, social or historiographical, into which Juan de Segovia fits nicely.
Instead, Segovia serves as a respite from the dumbfounded consternation that Norman Daniel’s work elicits, since his proposals were unconventional enough to muddle the narrative of longstanding bellicosity and disdain toward Islam. However, he also is an enigma for those who want to enlist social context as an explanation for violence to explain Segovia’s stance. The only scholars whose arguments are corroborated by Segovia’s works are those who aspire to challenge the conventional periodization of religious tolerance and question whether such a development really depended upon Enlightenment philosophy for its intellectual scaffolding. His arguments to Germain in 1455 show that Europeans had ample conceptual tools for arriving at such a stance, and that at least some were inclined to use these tools for a goal not all that distant from tolerance.
Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (1960, rprt. Oxford, 1993).
John V. Tolan, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (New York, 2002), xvi.
Tolan, Saracens, xv-xviii.
On the development of religious toleration, see Joseph Lecler, Toleration and Reformation, trans. by T. L. Westow, 2 vols. (New York, 1960); W. K. Jordan, The Development of Religious Toleration in England, 4 vols. (Cambridge, MA, 1932); and more recently, Cary J. Nederman, Worlds of Difference: European Discourses of Toleration, c. 1100-c. 1550 (University Park, PA, 2000); Cary J. Nederman and John Christian Laursen, eds., Difference and Dissent: Theories of Toleration in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Lanham, MA, 1996); John Christian Laursen and Cary J. Nederman, eds., Beyond the Persecuting Society: Religious Toleration Before the Enlightenment (Philadelphia, 1998); Perez Zagorin, How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West (Princeton, 2003).
On his contributions to conciliar theory at Basel, see Antony Black, Council and Commune: The Conciliar Movement and the Fifteenth-Century Heritage (London and Shepherdstown, WV, 1979).
The only monograph on Juan de Segovia’s views on Islam is Darío Cabanelas, Juan de Segovia y el problema islámico (Madrid, 1952). See also the following discussions: Ana Echevarría, The Fortress of Faith: The Attitude toward Muslims in Fifteenth Century Spain (Leiden, 1999); James Biechler, “A New Face toward Islam: Nicholas of Cusa and John of Segovia,” in Nicholas of Cusa in Search of God and Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Morimichi Watanabe by the American Cusanus Society, ed. Gerald Christianson and Thomas M. Izbicki (Leiden, 1991), 185-202; Thomas M. Izbicki, “The Possibility of Dialogue with Islam in the Fifteenth Century,” in the same volume, 175-83; Jesse D. Mann, “Truth and Consequences: Juan de Segovia on Islam and Conciliarism,” Medieval Encounters 8.1 (2002): 79-90.
The letter is dated December 18, 1455. It exists in a single manuscript in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV), Vatican Lateran 2923, folios 41r-136v. I examined a microfilm copy available at the Vatican Film Library at St. Louis University. I am grateful to this institution’s Mellon Fellowship program for providing funding to support my research there.
See the discussion in Benigno Hernández Montes, Obras de Juan de Segovia: Repertorio de historia de las ciencias eclesiásticas en España, vol. 6, Siglos I-XVI (Salamanca, 1977), 314-15, no. 56. Several copies of this letter to Cusa are extant: Biblioteca Universitaria de Salamanca (BUS) 19, fols. 168r-84r; BUS 55, fols. 126r-38v and 140r-55r; BAV Vat. Lat. 2923, fols. 4r-35r. Excerpts are published in Cabanelas, Juan de Segovia y el problema islámico, 303-10.
For the standard presentation of the solution he proposed, see Cabanelas, Juan de Segovia y el problema islámico, chap. 3, 93-126. As I have argued elsewhere (“Juan de Segovia and Western Perspectives on Islam in the Fifteenth Century,” Ph.D. Diss. [University of Minnesota, 2003]), Cabanelas presented Juan de Segovia’s “plan” as more systematic than it appears to have been. There is no one work in which it is laid out clearly. It must be pieced together from several of his works from this period.
Juan de Segovia, Letter to Jean Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 49v: “viam paternitas vestra dicit fore difficilem non utilem periculosam et scandalosam.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 56v: “... quod ministris suis quomodo ipse dixit, dabit Christus os et sapienciam cui non poterunt resistere et contradicere eorum adversarii omnes.” See Luke 21:14-16.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 54r: “Quod autem viam hanc dicitur periculosam fore quantum ad anime periculum ... . Alio rursus loco, se ipsum exemplum donans, exclamat quis nos separabit a caritate christi an periculum an gladius sicut scriptum est quia propter te mortificamur tota die estimati sumus sicut oves occionis.” See Romans 8:34-37.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 54r: “Potest ne maius designari periculum quam mittere paucas oves in medio luporum multorum. Et tamen cum illos ad predicandum misit discipulis suis ait Salvator Ecce ego mitto vos sicut agnos inter lupos. Divinaque illis assistente virtute pro singulari gracia lupi habuerunt quod agni in suam eos admitterent societatem incorporando eos christo. Et si non attento periculo corporum quod certissime contingit in preliorum congressu laudatur via belli quomodo periculosa estimanda est via pacis et doctrine ad [54v] sarracenorum conversionem quoniam non in nobis ipsis sumus confidentes sed in deo, in quo patres nostri speraverunt et liberati sunt de magnis periculis liberati a deo magnifice illi gracias agentes.” See Matthew 10:15-17 and Luke 10:2-4.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fols. 52v-53r: “Cumque avisamentum illud de cuius ydoneitate agitur sit quod ecciesia plenopere intendat ad conversionem sarracenorum per viam tractatus pacis et doctrine, si eidem videatur sic agendum nullus dicere volet quod in hoc casu oculus ecclesie dexter intencio vim tam sancti operis  scandalizet eam quasi intendens per hoc aliquid assequi malum quemadmodum cum angelus sathane se transfigurat in angelum lucis vel quod scandalizet eum pes suus aut manus. Ita quod ex actu quo recto ipsa scandalizetur. Quod vero scandalizet nisi dicantur de scandalo per accidens. Re ipsa longe plus distat, videlicet quod ipsa ecclesia sancta pro sua virtute laborans ad infidelium conversionem intendat per hoc fideles suos vel se ipsam scandalizari.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 47v: “Quem a deo licitum salvator esse voluit, ut cum primo discipulos miserit suos sine sacculo, pera, et calciamentis in ultima cena illis dixerit tollendum sactum similiter et peram, qui vero non haberet quod gladium emeret, tunicam venditurus suam. Et in hunc  casum ut a theurcorum violencia christiana religio defendatur militare videtur mencionata dispositio.” See Luke 22:34-37.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 51r: “Dei sermo et efficax et penetrabilior omni gladio, ancipite et pertingens usque ad divisionem anime et spiritus compagum quoque et medullarum et distector cogitatio num et intentionum cordis.” See Hebrews 4:12.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 51r: “Quo circa obtenta licencia ut verbum dei audire sarraceni veluit minime dubitandum est de secuturo plurimo fructu.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 51r: “Sic ait dominus erit verbum meum quod egreditur de ore meo non reverbetur ad me vacuum sed faciet quecumque volui et prosperabitur in hiis ad que missi illud.” See Isaiah 55:11.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 50v: “Qui namque dixit Euntes in mundum universum docete omnes gentes continuo assistenciam suam promisit, dicens Ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus usque ad consummacionem seculi.” See Mark 16:14-16 and Matthew 28:18-21.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 70r: “Quid igitur evangelica precipiens diligi inimicos ac benefacere hiis qui oderunt et orare pro persequentibus et calumpmantibus.” See Matthew 5:44.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 70v: “Malivolus autem animus contristatur si inimicus etiam correctus evaserit.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 70r: “Precipuum vero [70v] est ut de dei iusticia quis magis delectetur ut de inimici pena correctionem eius amans potius quam punicionem.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 70v: “Etenim quia teste divina scriptura, qui vindicari vult a domino inveniet vindictam.” Grammatically, this could also read, “Whoever seeks to be avenged by the Lord will find punishment,” but the translation offered above is more likely the intended meaning.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 70v: “Nam et si leges civiles plures diffinierunt causas iusti belli meritorium certe est maximaque dignum laude divine legis intentioni fieri conformem manifestanti vindictam deum sibi velut propriam regaliam reservasse.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 70v: “Ita quod de se et per se meritorius non est quamadmodum intendere ad salutem anime proximi sui. Secundum namque preceptum in quo lex divina pendere dicitur est diligere proximum sicut se ipsum. Et quodcumque aliud est mandatum proximorum respectu hoc uno verbo instauratur diliges proximum tuum sicut te ipsum.” See Mark 12:33.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 68: “Et pro satisfactione iniurie quam sibi faciebant iudei atque gentiles suspenden[68v]tes et crucifigentes eum in medio latronum sciens hunc actum fortitudinis pro quibus paciebatur salutarem futurum quodque sic in cruce exaltatus a terra omni ad se ipsum traheret ... cum clamore valido et lacrimis oravit patrem ut illis dimitteret quia nescirent quid facerent.” See John 12:32 and Luke 23:34.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 68v: “Revera talis nesciencia in animis esse videtur sarracenorum occidendo christianos. Siquidem arbitrantur obsequium se prestare deo existimantes eos non esse cultores dei unius.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 68v: “Ecclesia legacionem mitteret pro audiencia obtinenda ad maiores sarracenorum ostensuram illis in omni caritate quia nesciunt quid faciunt.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 68v: “Sic enim suum recognoscerent peccatum atque errorem.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 54r: “Si quidem pax multa a deo est legem suam diligentibus et non est illis scandalum.”
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 46v: “Si via pacis et doctrine opportuna magis ad conversionem sarracenorum in sacramenta catholice fidei quam via belli, nullam equidem prefigit mensuram temporis qua id ipsum operis inchorari prosequi debeat aut finiri ut namque divina alt sapientia, Qui crediderit non festinet et non turbetur ponam in pondere iudicium et iusticiam in mensura.”
See the critique of this periodization by Nederman and Laursen in the “Introduction” in Difference and Dissent, 1-16.
Nederman and Laursen, Difference and Dissent, 10.
Charles H. Parker, “Paying for the Privilege: The Management of Public Order and Religious Pluralism in Two Early Modern Societies,” Journal of World History 17 (2006): 267-96.
Juan de Segovia to Germain, 18 December 1455, fol. 98v: “Revera ego nondum vixcentum annis, sed in adolescencia mea decem annis quibus in ea fui de inhabitantibus civitatem qua sum oriundus plures vidi conversos numero tunc ipsorum Sarracenorum vix attingente quinquiginta habitatorum.” His efforts to find Muslims with whom he could engage in theological discussion are described in this same manuscript, fols. 64r-64v and 78r-78v, as well as in his De gladio divini Spiritus in corda mittendo sarracenorum, Seville, Colombina 7-6-14, fols. 18v-20. See the discussion by Cabanelas in Juan de Segovia y el problema islámico, 100-02.
Examples of recent scholarship include J. P. Molénat, “Une famille de l’élite mudéjare de la Couronne de Castille: les Xarafi de Tolède et d’Alcalá de Henares,” in Mélanges Louis Cardaillac (Zaghouan, Tunis,1995); idem, “A propos d’Abrahen Xarafi: les alcaldes mayores de los moros de Castille au temps des Rois Catholiques,” Actas del I Simposio Internacional de Mudejarismo VII (Madrid and Teruel, 1999).
Ana Echevarría, “Política y religión frente al Islám: la evolución de la legislación real castellana sobre musulmanes en el siglo XV,” Qurtuba 4 (1999): 46; Serafín de Tapia Sánchez, La comunidad morisca de Avila (Salamanca, 1991), 57.
For discussions of other fifteenth-century Spanish writers on the question of Islam, see, for example, Echevarría, Fortress of Faith, and Alisa Meyuhas Ginio, “Reves de croisade contre les sarrasins dans la Castille du XVe siècle (Alonso de Espina, Fortalitium Fidei),” Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 212.2 (1995): 145-74.