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Blessed Ramon LLull

Br. Oisn Martin, CFR

2nd Paper
Msgr. Vaccari
MA 4000Y,
Introduction to Church History

December 14th, 2016

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History often becomes most real through the study on one persons life. This paper will offer a
glimpse of 13th Century Christianity, Islam and Judaism though the life of one man.
Blessed Ramon Llull is a man who bridges the three monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Islam
and Judaism. He was born to wealthy parents in Majorca (1233) just as it received independence
from Islamic rule.1 He married and had 2 children. When aged 30 the unfaithful Goth whilst
writing a love poem to woman of Court who was not his wife had a mystical vision of Christ
crucified.2. After this conversion he first was hermit and next a Franciscan tertiary. He became a
poet, philosopher, theologian, prolific author with over 265 works and a lay missionary. 3 Most of
his writing and activity were aimed at the conversion of Jews and Muslims to Christianity.
In 1219 St. Francis sought out the Sultan Malek al Kamel during the 5 th crusade preciously
because he was considered the biggest enemy to the faith. In this era of Crusades and serve
punishment of heretics, both Jews and Muslims were often offered baptism or exile. Mohammad
was still considered an anti-Christ. Hatred and fear were real and abundant. Indeed it would be a
major factor for exploring the New World.4 On a personal note Llull Senior had obtained his
land through force from the Muslims. In this context it is amazing that Llull wanted to convert
the Muslims in a Christian manner. He wrote it is my belief O Christ! That the conquest of the
Holy Lands should be attempted in no other way as thou and Thy apostles undertook to
accomplish it by love and prayer, by the shedding of tears and of blood. 5 Additionally Major
notes that Muslim culture stood much higher than Christian. 6 This was due to the Arabs being
heirs to Greek philosophy and science. The most famous was Averroes.7

St. Raymond of Peafort advised Llull to learn the languages he needed for his mission. He spent
10 years in preparation. He bought a Muslim slave to teach him Arabic. The slave tried to kill him

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and committed suicide upon failing.8 He travelled throughout Europe visiting Paris, Aragon, and
the Pope promoting the study of oriental languages. In his day this included Hebrew and Arabic.
Success came in 1276 when he persuaded James II to set up a place of study at Miramar in

Majorca where 13 Franciscans could study oriental languages.9 His biggest success came at the
Council of Vienna which established the founding of professorships for the Oriental languages
at the Curia and at the four chief universities.10
Llull believed he could convince the heathen by rationalism. No scripture. This arose after a
mystical experience on Mount Randa in Majorca in 1272. In this he saw the whole universe

reflecting the divine attributes, he conceived of reducing all knowledge to first principles
and determining their convergent point of unity.11 Thus he created the Ars Magna.12 It
has been described as the first computer. The Arabs were arguing that theology and
philosophy were 2 separate truths in which each could hold a truth not compatible in the
other. Llull held the opposite extreme so that even the highest mysteries could be proved
rationally.13 Scholastics held to 2 separate subjects but no difference in truth. Llull believed his
machine could demonstrate. He was most successful on his home soil. He debated famous Jews
such Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet of Barcelona and Moshe ben Shlomo of Salerno. 14 He made at
least 3 visits to the African coast trying to engage Muslim theologians and laity. In 1306 major
notes he was so successful that he was warned not to return. Return he did. He was stoned

to death and died on the boat returning to Majorca in 1315.15

Llull challenged contemporary Christian attitudes and methods of evangelization. Islam
& Judaism were challenged on the level ground of reason in an era when some say Islam
was intellectually superior. Converts were made; sanctity ensued.

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Buchmann, Hipolito. The Esoteric Codex: Medieval Astrologers. publication place: lulu.com,
2015. Accessed November 21, 2016. https://books.google.com/books?
Cross, F. L. &. Livingstone, Elizabeth A eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005
Kirsch, Kirsch, ed. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912.
Accessed November 21, 2016. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15423a.htm
Ramon Llull Routes. Ramon Llull: Literary Work. Accessed November 21, 2016.
Major, H. D. The Apostle of Algeria: Raymond Lull, 1236-1315. Modern Churchman 32, no.
10 (12 Jan - Mar 1943): 329-36.
Shenk, Wilbert R., ed. Christianity and Religious Plurality: Historical and Global Perspectives.
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.
Turner, William, ed. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911.
Accessed November 21, 2016. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12670c.htm.

F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York:
Oxford University Press, 2005), 996.
H. D. Major, The Apostle of Algeria: Raymond Lull, 1236-1315, Modern Churchman 32, no. 10 (12 Jan - Mar 1943):
He was Goth by decent.
Ramon Llull: Literary Work, Ramon Llull Routes, accessed November 21,
2016, http://www.rutasramonllull.com/en/ramon-llull-literary-work.
Wilbert R. Shenk, ed., Christianity and Religious Plurality: Historical and Global Perspectives (Eugene, OR: Cascade
Books, 2016), under Strategy of Diversion, accessed November 21, 2016, https://books.google.com/books?
Wilbert R. Shenk, ibid.
Ibid, 331
Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd is better known in the west as Averroes. He lived from 1126 to 1198. He
was a Muslim philosopher. He is famous for his interpretation of Aristotle. Averroism or Latin Averrosim is the philosophy
which begun in the late 13th century in medieval Europe. It is based on the work of Averroes & his interpretation of
Aristotle. Some consider it a type of Scholasticism
Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas & Raymond Lull are some of those who fought against Averroism. Their writing on it
includes On the Unicity of Intellect & On the Eternity of the World.
Yet Averroes also studied and wrote superb works on law & medicine. He was a both chief medic & judge under a muslim
Prince. He was eventually exiled in 1195 and had his writings banned. He lived near a Jewish village near Cordoba.

Major, 332
Cross, ibid.
Kirsch Kirsch, ed., The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912), s.v. Council of Vienne
(1311-12), accessed November 21, 2016, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15423a.htm
Encyclopdia Britannica, s.v. Ramon Llull, accessed November 21,
2016, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Ramon-Llull.
Llull was condemned by Pope Gregory XI in 1376. But Pius IX allowed showed mercy and allowed his cult to flourish in
1847when he beatified him. His feast day is June 30th.
The hardware of Llull's machine looked as follows:


William Turner, ed., The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911), s.v. Raymond Lully,
accessed November 21, 2016, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12670c.htm.
Hipolito Buchmann, The Esoteric Codex: Medieval Astrologers (publication place: lulu.com, 2015), 110, accessed
November 21, 2016, https://books.google.com/books?
Some argue that this is just legend.