Bl. RAMON LULL (also Llull) (c.1233–c.1315)  lay missionary and philosopher Third-order Franciscan, beatified by Pius IX. Of well-to-do parents, Llull was born in Majorca, which had recently been recovered after three cents. under Islamic rule. He was educated as a knight and became seneschal to the son of James I of Aragon, later James II of Majorca. He married and had two children. At the age of 30 he had a vision of Christ crucified, which led him to devote himself wholly to His service. His chief mission was the conversion of Islam. On the advice of St Raymond of Peñafort he remained in Majorca studying Arabic and Christian thought for nine years. During this time he composed his first work, the ‘Book of Contemplation’; it was written in Arabic and translated into Catalan. This period of his life culminated in a vision on Mt. Randa (c.1274), in which the form in which he was to set out his ideas was revealed to him; he worked this out in his ‘Art of Finding Truth’. In 1276 he persuaded James II to set up a place of study at Miramar in Majorca where 13 Franciscans could study oriental languages.

The next decade of his life is obscure. From 1287 onwards, when he made his first visit to Paris, he was engaged in constant travel, visiting the courts of France, Aragon, and the Pope, trying to win support for his plans for converting Islam, elaborating his ideas, and writing a large number of books and tracts. On three occasions he went on missions in N. Africa. His one practical success was the decree of the Council of Vienne (1311–12) establishing studia of oriental languages in five universities. The often repeated statement that he died a martyr’s death at Bougie in N. Africa, stoned by the populace, does not rest on any contemporary evidence.



Lull’s basic aim in his writings was the conversion of Islam and of the Jews, ‘that in the whole world there may not be more than one language, one belief, one faith’ (Blanquerna, c. 94). With this aim he elaborated an approach by which he hoped to convince them by rational argument, without recourse to the authority of Scripture. In his Art (in its final elaboration, Ars generalis ultima, finished in 1308), he attempted to relate ‘all forms of knowledge (including religious belief) to the manifestations of God’s “Dignities” [i.e. Divine Attributes] in the universe, taking for its point of departure the monotheistic vision common to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and their acceptance of a broadly Neoplatonic exemplarist world-picture, and arguing … analogically up and down “the ladder of being” ’ (R. D. F. Pring-Mill).

In his exposition Llull made extensive use of diagrams and of the representation of philosophical terms by letters of the alphabet, which, rightly combined, could, he held, provide the solution to any problem. He had no training in the scholastic theology of the universities and his works seemed difficult and strange to many, but for a few they had a strong attraction, and his writings were widely diffused. Among those whom he influenced was Nicholas of Cusa.

As a mystic Llull has been considered the forerunner of St Teresa and St John of the Cross. His conception of the mystic life centres in the contemplation of the Divine perfections, which is achieved by the purification of memory, understanding, and will, and results in action for the greater glory of God. He was one of the most ardent defenders of the Immaculate Conception in the Middle Ages. His cult, which developed soon after his death, was hindered by the ecclesiastical authorities owing to the difficulties in his teaching, but it was approved by Pius IX in 1847. Interest in him has been steadily growing in recent times.

Opera Latina, ed. F. Stegmüller (1–5, Majorca, 1959–67); cont. by H. Harada, OFM, and others (CCCM 32–9; 75–80, 111–15, 180A, 180B, 180C, 181–2, etc.; 1975 ff.). Obres, ed. M. Obrador y Bennásar and others (Majorca, 1906 ff.). Obres essencials, ed. M. Batllori, SJ (2 vols., Barcelona, 1957–[60]), incl. Life. Liber Predicationis Contra Judaeos, ed. J. M. Millás Vallicrosa (Madrid and Barcelona, 1957). Eng. trs. from the Catalan by E. A. Peers of his Blanquerna: A Thirteenth-Century Romance (London [1926]), The Book of the Lover and the Beloved (ibid., 1923), The Art of Contemplation (ibid., 1925), The Tree of Life (ibid., 1926) and The Book of the Beasts (ibid., 1927). Eng. tr. of Selected Works, with valuable introds., by A. Bonner (2 vols., Princeton, NJ [1985]). The principal authority for his life is a contemporary Life surviving in Lat. and Catalan. Lat. text ed. B. de Gaiffier, SJ, in Anal. Boll. 48 (1930), pp. 130–78, with refs. E. A. Peers, Ramón Lull: A Biography (1929). E. W. Platzeck, Raimund Lull: Sein Leben, seine Werke, die Grundlagen seines Denkens (Bibliotheca Franciscana, 5–6; Düsseldorf, 1962–4). J. N. Hillgarth, Ramón Lull and Lullism in Fourteenth-Century France (Oxford Warburg Studies, 1971). M. D. Johnston, The Spiritual Logic of Ramon Llull (Oxford, 1987); id., The Evangelical Rhetoric of Ramon Llull (New York and Oxford, 1996). Raymond Lulle et le Pays d’Oc, with introd. by M.-H. Vicaire (Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 22 [1987]). E. Longpré, OFM, in DTC 9 (pt. 1; 1926), cols. 1072–141, s.v., with full bibl. R. D. F. Pring-Mill in EB (1968 edn.), 13, pp. 173 f., s.v. ‘Llull, Ramon’; A. Bonner and C. Lohr in Dict. Sp. 13 (1988), cols. 171–87, s.v. ‘Raymond Lulle’.


xcxxcxxc  F ” “ This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.