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John Monfasani
SUNY Research Foundation, Albany (Albany, NY 12222-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010

An Edition and Translation of George Amiroutzes' Dialogue On Religion

This work has previously been known only in a Renaissance Latin translation. In 2004 I discovered the original Greek text in Spain. Amiroutzes' Dialogue is a literary recreation of discussions that he and Mehmed the Conqueror held in the 1460s. Amiroutzes is a well known Byzantine intellectual who entered Mehmed's household. The text is unique in that it conveys the gist of conversations by a Sultan concerning the comparative merits of Islam and Christianity, and, in this case, not of just any Sultan, but of one of the greatest. Amiroutzes argued the plausibility of Christianity while Mehmed insisted upon the superiority of Islam. In short, the Dialogue is a dialectical, not an irenic exercise, reflecting the give-and-take between an intellectually curious and sophisticated Moslem ruler and an erudite Christian servant. I plan to publish a critical edition of the Greek text accompanied by an English translation and an extensive historical introduction.