The “Feigned Conversion of Constantine” in Early Islamic Literature

  • Jonathan Stutz Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Abstract

This article focuses on the literary motif of Constantine’s artful conversion to Christianity in the context of Early Islamic literature. While it is reasonable to expect that this particular way of presenting Constantine’s approach to religion would have proven useful in the context of polemical literature against Christianity, this article aims to show that his conversion also appeared in literary settings different from a strictly theological one. Alongside the polemical work of ʿAbd al-Ǧabbār, the article presents the terms in which the figure of Constantine and his conversion were appropriated within the works of al-Masʿūdī and Miskawayh. In these two particular authors the story of Constantine’s conversion is relevant to problems peculiar not to the apologetic but rather to historiographical and ethical discourses. Constantine therefore stands as a representative case in point for the diversified reception and adaptation of Late Antiquity’s legacy within the emerging Islamicate world.

Published
2020-03-02
How to Cite
Stutz, J. (2020). The “Feigned Conversion of Constantine” in Early Islamic Literature. Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, 20, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.5617/jais.7823
Section
Articles