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The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam, and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion; 1ST edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038552370X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523707
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The story of these two men—Francis and the sultan—is told engagingly in this well-researched, timely and fascinating book by Paul Moses ... dramatically narrated ... I highly recommend this book for readers interested in St. Francis, the Crusades, Islam and how the story of Francis and al-Kamil offers us a Franciscan approach to the interfaith challenges we face today." - Murray Bodo, O.F.M., St. Anthony Messenger.

"...this is a wonderfully written, well researched and timely book. It will surely serve to bring the message of peace that is exhibited in the encounter between Francis and the Sultan to a world desperately in need of recalling such possibilities ... This is a book that belongs int he personal libraries of all Franciscans and all who strive to encounter the other in a loving, Christian and respectful manner." - Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M.

"Moses's realistic and powerful book gives readers an informed idea of how difficult it was to follow Francis in an age of papal power and the broad acceptance of violence." - Joseph Cunneen, History News Network

"An important book ... The Saint and the Sultan is fascinating reading that will change the reader's concept of who St. Francis of Assisi was ... It's sure to stir a lot of conversation in religious circles." - Ed Wilkinson, editor-in-chief of The Tablet

"Moses’ lively account of a little-known but significant chapter in the life of the popular saint of Assisi deserves a wide readership, resonating as it does with world events of our own time." - America Magazine

"Paul Moses' fascinating account of St. Francis of Assisi's meeting with Sultan Malik al-Kamil in the midst of the Fifth Crusade not only details the historical record, puts it into context, and tries to strip it of centuries of tendentious distortions, it also documents how its true significance has recently come to blossom and bear fruit in Christian-Muslim relations. In his thoroughly researched and engaging book Moses uncovers and retells the true story of the Christian saint's audience with the Muslim ruler. - Meinrad Scherer-Emunds, Executive Editor, U.S. Catholic

"The care and – there is no other word for it – love with which Moses has drawn the scene for us is really a prayer for ... peace." - Melinda Henneberger, editor-in-chief, PoliticsDaily

"The Saint and the Sultan is a provocative, in-depth examination of that little-known but powerful meeting between St. Francis and the 13th century Islamic leader Sultan Malik al-Kamil...Moses ... shows how the encounter between them is of great relevance to our divided world today." - Brooklyn Daily Eagle

"In this sprightly and smart book, Paul Moses rediscovers an ancient moment in time that, in his telling, has timeless resonance."
— Jon Meacham, Author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

"This brilliant retelling of a largely forgotten chapter in the life of the most beloved of saints comes just when we need it most. The Saint and the Sultan shows that faith leads to action, and that true holiness can lead to actions that provoke, astonish and even baffle the world."
— James Martin, Author of My Life with the Saints

"The Saint and the Sultan is a MUST read, supremely relevant today in relations between the Muslim world and the West . . . Paul Moses' outstanding and engaging portrayal offers a unique insight into Francis' overlooked counter-cultural role as a peacemaker during the Crusades for whom Christianity was a religion of peace not conflict."
— John L. Esposito, Georgetown University Professor of Religion & International Affairs, and author of What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

"In The Saint and the Sultan Paul Moses delivers a fascinating lesson from a lost episode of history, and shows how critical it is to understanding today's global conflicts — and the possibility of peace through religious dialogue. In the process, he also delivers a terrific story about a Christian saint everyone thought they knew — Francis of Assisi — and a Muslim world that few realize existed."
— David Gibson, author of The Coming Catholic Church and The Rule of Benedict

"The Saint and the Sultan is an important and timely book. Paul Moses reminds us that the true agents of dialogue and constructive encounter must be courageous enough to talk as well as to listen, even opposing their own people, in the name of justice, dignity and love. Such religious voices are very much needed today, to help us follow the demanding path of peace while avoiding the traps of undignified wars."
— Tariq Ramadan, Oxford University Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, and author of In the Footsteps of the Prophet 

"Paul Moses' fascinating book throws new light on St. Francis' exemplary ministry of reconciliation. In the midst of widespread ignorance and war the efforts of St. Francis to build trust and overcome mutual antipathy speak powerfully to us today, when misunderstanding and conflict between Christians and Muslims threaten all who share our planet."
— Charles Kimball, author of When Religion Becomes Evil

"The Saint and the Sultan sheds new light on spiritual vision' s power to transcend conflict. Through this book we learn not only about a remarkable set of events of medieval  history, but also a lesson in peace making that is of the greatest importance for both those Westerners and Muslims who seek to create better understanding of each other across religious and cultural frontiers rather than simply vilifying one another." 
— Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, and author of The Heart of Islam

About the Author

Paul Moses, former Newsday city editor and senior religion writer, is a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He was the lead writer on a Newsday team that won the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Maureen.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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To see where St. Francis lived was incredible.
Leonard Walker
There is no evidence to indicate that Francis was opposed to the crusades.
Bobby C Murphy
I found the book informative, well researched and referenced.
Faroque Ahmed Khan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Vezza on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book captivated my sense of history and spirituality. Mr. Moses writes clearly, concisely and puts into context the times and forces that created one of the most unique individuals of his age or any age where war and money drive people's behavior. Moses, in his preface, tells us that perhaps there are lessons for us to learn from this extraordinary man and his quest for peace. Today, as we wage two wars and focus on our economic well-being, Moses' book provides us with another perspective, another way for us to think and live. This is a must-read.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Walker on October 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I visited Assisi while in Italy and found it a very moving experience. To see where St. Francis lived was incredible.Paul's book tells a story about St. Francis that I had never heard.He writes in a way that kept me fascinated throughout the entire book. Well done!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bobby C Murphy on July 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The author explicitly states that he uses his "skills" as a journalist to ignore texts which disagree with his argument of st. Francis as a counter-cultural peacemaker opposing the crusades through non-violent actions. Paul Moses argues how unreliable a text like bonaventure's biography is when it is convenient to Moses's thesis and then quote Bonaventure's text when it is supportive. The fact is that st. Francis was not unique in preaching to Muslims during the crusades and it was seen by those who participated as a supplement to the crusades as well as having the potential benefit for the missionaries of obtaining martyrdom. The author demonstrates a major lack of knowledge about 13th century views on missions in order to understand the context of Francis's own mission properly. There is no evidence to indicate that Francis was opposed to the crusades. Read John v. Tolan's Saint Francis and the Sultan for a well researched analysis of this historical event by an actual expert in the history of medieval Christian-Muslim relations.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Donaghy on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the midst of war, Francis goes unarmed to meet the enemy leader. In a time when Muslims were demonized, Francis has an extended dialogue with the Sultan. But the real story got lost in the midst of politics - the Crusades and heresy allegations. The author does a marvelous job of telling the real story and then showing how and why it was covered up. He also gives a sympathetic - yet realistic - portrait of the Sultan.

It gave me an ever greater appreciation of St. Francis and his call to peacemaking. Francis wasn't a plastic saint for birdbaths. He was a real live follower of Christ, not afraid to tell the Crusaders that their effort was in vain and open enough to meet the enemy. A true peacemaker.

It's a great book to help us get a better grasp of what Christian-Muslim relations could be.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. L. Yates on November 25, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Moses has done an impressive job researching widely scattered souurces. I thoroughly enjoyed the read but as far as using it for research the lack of citations IN THE TEXT virtually erases his careful work. One star, in vain hope Amazon will notice and correct this massive blunder. The serious reader would be better off getting the printed version.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
most christians especially catholics{which i am one} wont believe it just as st francis could not recognize his order after 20 yrs and especially now. A MUST READ FOR THOSE TO UNDERSTAND THE PRESENT SITUATION IN THE US AND MIDDLE EAST AND ISRAEL. WHY DOES GOOGLE NOT PLACE ISREAL{ THE HOLY LAND} ON THEIR MAPS?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Seemed like an objective evaluation that veers into opinionated illogical meanderings about Saddam Hussein & Bush, which causes the reader wonder how objective the whole research was.
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It was beautiful to learn about this special part of the life of St. Francis.
It teaches us that we need to learn a better way to solve our present day problems. So well written and
Francis comes alive and is so approachable.
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