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Cusanus, Islam, and Religious Tolerance

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Chapter Summary

Cusanus must have had a great interest in Islam, even early in his career. In his Sermo I, the first part, De nominibus Dei, Cusanus mentions that in Turkey and among the Saracens, God's name, 'olla ubacber', meant great and just God. Cusanus's famous book, De pace fidei (On the Peaceful Unity of Faith), completed in September 1453, can be considered as one of his responses to that catastrophe. At the request of his close friend, Pope Pius II, Cusanus wrote Cribratio Alkorani, The Sifting of the Koran, between 1460-1461. In Cribratio Alkorani Cusanus proposes a "generous, or sympathetic interpretation, pia interpretatio" of the Qurʾan, hoping to apply this interpretation to understand the Muslim holy book. In Cusanus's period, as in the present age, the clash between Christian countries in Western Europe and Islamic countries in the Middle East was a great concern.

Keywords: Christian countries; Cribratio Alkorani; Cusanus; De pace fidei; Islam; Islamic countries; pia interpretatio; Pope Pius II



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