The Sum of All Heresies: The Image of Islam in Western Thought Review

The Sum of All Heresies: The Image of Islam in Western Thought
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The Sum of All Heresies: The Image of Islam in Western Thought Review"The Sum of All Heresies" by Fredrick Quinn Book Review
A very well written and easy to read, narrative style historical account of many of the different images the west has had of Islam; factors that influenced the image of Islam even before the rise of Islam in the Arab world. This book is by far the best historical record of the impact of scholarly works and arts on the subject of Islam upon the Western world. Everything from the first translation of the Quran in the west to how Rumi became part of the American academic world. are discussed in the west.

The interview with at the end of the book with Kenneth Cragg seems to a little out of place which focusing inter-faith dialogue. The book moves quickly in regards to the issue of the impact of movies (with Islamic themes) but a good historical account nonetheless. One unique aspect of this book is that it documents the transferring of the image and thought from Europe to America. Also, as the book discusses the works and people who influenced the image of Islam; he digs a little deeper giving a gist of what they thought.
Fredrick Quinn sees the image of the Prophet (saw) in four parts in western imagery, (1) as the anti-crist, (2) a fallen Prophet, (3) a mad sexual deviant, and (4) as a wise man. Then he goes into the historical account of how these four trends started. ."Islam" as the other, and transitions Islam is going through between now and before is every clearly demonstrated.
To me personally the section on the Shiners, Napoleon and the movie Aladdin (1992) were very interesting. One really gets a feel for the western mindset about Islam through literature, art, and culture accounts. As I mentioned earlier the academic books and people that influenced the current image of Islam is the most important and most detailed in this book.
All Muslim leaders, scholars (Muslim and Non-Muslim), Imams, and activists (Muslim and Non-Muslim) who have an understanding of Islam already and are interested in a historical understanding of the western mindset this book is a must buy.
By far the best book on the image of Islam in western thought... (For more books and other media on Islam and Muslims)
The Sum of All Heresies: The Image of Islam in Western Thought OverviewCurrent global tensions and the spread of terrorism have resurrected in the West a largely negative perception of Islamic society, an ill will fueled by centuries of conflict and prejudice.Shedding light on the history behind these hostile feelings, Frederick Quinn's timely volume traces the Western image of Islam from its earliest days to recent times. Quinn establishes four basic themes around which the image of Islam gravitates throughout history: the Prophet as Antichrist, heretic, and Satan; the Prophet as Fallen Christian, corrupted monk, or Arab Lucifer; the prophet as sexual deviant, polygamist, and charlatan, and the Prophet as Wise Easterner, Holy Person, and dispenser of wisdom.A feature of the book is a strong portrayal of Islam in literature, art, music, and popular culture, drawing on such sources as Cervantes's Don Quixote; the Orientalism of numerous visual artists; the classical music of Monteverdi and Mozart; and more recent cultural manifestations, such as music hall artists like Peter Dawson and Edith Piaf; and stage or silver screen representations like The Garden of Allah, The Sheik, Aladdin, and The Battle of Algiers. Quinn argues that an outpouring of positive information on basically every aspect of Islamic life has yet to vanquish the hostile and malformed ideas from the past.Conflict, mistrust, and misunderstanding characterize the Muslim-Christian encounter, and growing examples of cooperation are often overshadowed by anger and suspicion.In this important book, Quinn highlights long-standing historical prejudices but also introduces the reader to some of the landmark voices in history that have worked toward a greater understanding of Islam.

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