Benedict's misreading

Baffled by the Regensburg speech
Having been a student of Islamic philosophy and teacher of Islam for a quarter century, I was baffled by the skewed presentation of Islam that Pope Benedict XVI offered in his speech at Regensburg, Germany, in September 2006. As a student paper, it would have failed for lack of organization.

One cannot use remarks that a 14th-century Byzantine emperor made about the place of violence as opposed to reason in Islam—remarks made in the face of Constantinople’s imminent demise—to illustrate (by contrast) a general thesis about the way Christianity (and not Islam) has relied on reason as developed in the Hellenic world. The tutor would say: you have too much going on here; moreover, any attempt to illustrate something difficult by something yet more obscure (to one’s readers) violates one of the rules of rhetoric developed in the Hellenic age.


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