Born in Majorca c. 1232, three years after the Christian conquest of the island (1229), Ramon Llull had very close contact with Muslim culture. It was not until after he was thirty years old that he gave up his life at court and began to study theology and philosophy. Not long after that, he purchased a Moorish slave in order to learn Arabic. This proximity to the Muslim world gave him an exceptional insight into religion and culture which set him apart from all the intellectuals in the Europe of his day. A tireless traveller, he visited the principal courts of Christendom to rally support for his projects, and he did so while engaging in an intense missionary activity to convert Jewish and, above all, Muslim unbelievers. Meanwhile, he also wrote more than 260 works in Catalan, Arabic and Latin, which were widely read in his own lifetime and were brimming with new ideas which had a major influence on the development of universal thought. In his Ars generalis ultima he developed a method intended to be used in religious debate, but which he also applied to scientific subjects and demonstration. After going on various missions to North Africa, Llull died at the age of 84 on his way back from one of his final attempts to engage in religious discussion with Muslim scholars in Tunis, where he was stoned and imprisoned.

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