Nicholas of Cusa and the Ottoman Threat to Christendom

Thomas Izbicki, Nathan Ron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) had a long-time interest in the possibility of dialog with muslims. When the Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453, he authored a vision of religious peace in De pace fidei. By the time Pope Pius II called for a crusade against the Turks, Nicholas provided him with a critique of the Qur'an. The changed viewpoint combined polemic with an effort to find Christian truths in the Islamic sacred text. This article traces the changes in Cusanus's thought on Islam and the crusade through an examination of his sermons and other texts not ordinarily read in this context. These texts reveal a gradual move away from dialog and toward support of the crusade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-147
Number of pages19
JournalMedieval Encounters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.


  • Crusade
  • Nicholas of Cusa
  • Ottoman Turks
  • Pius II
  • Polemics against Islam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language


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