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Narratives of the Armenian Polemics with the Muslims from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (2018-2019)

Field of study: Historical Theology

The Armenian polemical literature from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries proliferated in relation to the surge of confessional consciousness within the Armenian communities under the Ottoman and Safavid rule. Early Modern inter- and cross-confessional debates on the orthodoxy shaped the broad context in which polemics with the Muslims have to be placed. The scarcity of anti-Islamic
texts in the Armenian manuscript heritage compared to the abundant extant anti-Catholic polemical material has laid grounds for the assumption that Armenians were not interested in the religion of the rulers in the confessional age regardless of the fact, that the heuristic potential of the age enhanced the necessity of learning through questioning and answering. Drawing upon manuscript material this paper analyzes broader socio-historical context the polemics with the Muslims transpired within. It examines the switch in debated topics, argumentations, vocabulary and language to reveal the dialogic and heuristic aspects of anti-Muslim Armenian polemics in the age of confessions.

Keywords: polemic dialogue, Armenian anti-Muslim polemics, heuristic, confessionalization, non-knowledge, orthodoxy, cross-confessional, inter-religious, Yovhannēs Mrk‘uz, Step‘anos Daštec‘i

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