Leseprobe zu "1308 (eBook)"
Ramon Llull in 1308: Prison, Shipwreck, Art, and Logic (p. 609-610)
Anthony Bonner (Palma de Mallorca)
For Ramon Llull 1308 was a very special year. Not only did it follow a dramatic year in which he was stoned while proselytizing in North Africa, imprisoned, and then shipwrecked on his return to Europe, but in its own way it was a kind of annus mirabilis, and this in two ways. In the first place, it was probably the most productive year of an extraordinarily productive career - one in which he finished thirteen works (see Appendix I). And secondly, it was a pivotal year in his presentation of three different approaches to the task which for him was fundamental: the development of techniques capable of converting non-Christians.
The dramatic events of the year before occurred on his second voyage to North Africa, strikingly different from the first he had undertaken in 1293, fourteen years previously. Then he had gone to Tunis, where he had engaged the local doctors of the law in rational and pacific discussions on the merits of their various religions. When it became clear that his arguments were not completely unconvincing, he was simply asked to leave. All this was in striking contrast to his voyage of 1307, to the town of Bougie (or Bejaya) in presentday Algeria. There, as the ,Vita coaetania‘, an account of his life he dictated to Parisian monks near the end of his life, says, „In the main square of the city, Ramon, standing up and shouting in a loud voice, burst out with the following words: ,The Christian religion is true, holy, and acceptable to God; the Saracen religion, however, is false and full of error, and this I am prepared to prove‘.“ This was the only time in his life he used such provocative tactics. Why he did it, we don’t know; it might have been an attempt to try the Franciscan model of gaining adherence by showing a willingness to face martyrdom. In any case, the reaction could scarcely have been more violent. He was stoned, broughtbefore the cadi of the city, who, after a brief discussion, had him jailed, at first „in the latrine of the thieves’ jail“ and then in an ordinary cell. While he was there, Muslim clergymen and emissaries from the cadi came to dispute with him, and finally it was agreed that each would write a book giving the best arguments for their own religion. Llull was hard at work on his version, when orders came that he be expelled immediately from the country.
But this wasn’t the end of his troubles. As recounted in the ,Vita coaetania‘:
„On the journey to Genoa, when the ship was near the Port of Pisa, about ten miles offshore, a great storm arose, and the ship suffered the violent blows of the tempest on all sides, until at last it sank. Some were drowned, while others, with the help of God, escaped; among the latter were Ramon and a companion of his, who, even though they lost all their books and clothing, and were almost naked, managed to make it to shore in a rowboat.“