Raymond Lull

c. 1232-1316. Franciscan missionary, mystic, and scholar. From Palma (on Majorca in the Balearic Islands), he was educated as a knight and then converted from a life of dissipation (1263). Resolving to dedicate himself to winning Muslims to Christ, Lull learned Arabic. He also had a vision which revealed to him a method of approaching Muslims with the Christian message. Then he persuaded James II of Majorca to found a monastery at Miramir where Franciscans could study Arabic and the art in his method in order to prepare for missionary work among the Moslems. Lull taught at Miramir, Montpellier, and Paris. He took missionary journeys to Tunis and Algeria and tried unsuccessfully to enlist the rulers of Europe in his projects. The traditional account of his martyrdom in North Africa does not seem to be true; he probably died on Marjorca.

Lull was the first Christian theologian of the Middle Ages to use a language other than Latin for his major works. He wrote in Catalan and Arabic, in addition to Latin, and produced 290 books of which 240 survive. His writings center about his art, a method to demonstrate the unity of all truth. He attempted to work out a system by which all possible knowledge could be reduced to, or derived from, certain first principles. The art, he believed, would lead to a unification of the Greek and Latin churches and to the reunification of all mankind through Christianity. In addition to refuting Islamic teaching, Lull also struggled against the “Averroists” such as Siger of Brabant.*

S.M. Zwemer, Raymond Lull, First Missionary to the Moslems (1902); E.A. Peers, Ramon Lull (1929); F.A. Yates, The Art of Memory (1966).