Lully, Raymond

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Lull, Ramón

Lull, Ramón (rämōnˈ lo͞ol), or Raymond Lully, c.1232–1316?, Catalan philosopher, b. Palma, Majorca. Of a wealthy family, he lived in ease until c.1263, when he had a religious experience and was fired with ambition to convert Muslims to Christianity. He studied Arabic language and literature and founded (1276) a college in Majorca for the study of Arabic. In 1292 he went to Tunis and challenged Muslim scholars to public debates. He was forcibly deported but made a second trip to North Africa in 1307 to combat the teachings of Averroës and again was banished. The tradition that he was stoned to death on a third trip that began in 1315 cannot be substantiated. Lull's chief work—Ars magna [the great art]—was a defense of Christianity against the teachings of Averroës. Lull maintained that philosophy (including science) was not divorced from theology and that every article of faith could be demonstrated perfectly by logic.


See biographies by E. A. Peers (1946, repr. 1969) and L. Brophy (1960); study by J. N. Hillgarth (1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lully, Raymond


Born circa 1235 in Mallorca; died circa 1315 in Tunis (?). Philosopher; theologian; Catalan writer.

At the age of 30, Lully gave up the life of a brilliant courtier and poet and entered the Franciscan order, becoming a missionary. He did missionary work in North Africa, where, according to legend, he suffered a martyr’s death. An outstanding expert on Jewish and Muslim theology, Lully was one of the founders of European Arabistics. He introduced the regular teaching of Oriental languages in European universities for the specialized preparation of missionaries. Lully left about 300 works, written originally in Catalan and Arabic primarily but often preserved only in Latin translations.

Lully’s world view was formed under the influence of Franciscanism and the works of Augustine. Polemicizing with the doctrine of Averroism about dualistic truth, Lully held that true knowledge was possible only in the light of revelation. For Lully, the world was the symbol of god, and in each thing were reflected divine “perfections,” the examination of which revealed to human understanding the principles of the action of god in the world. In order to bring such understanding to exhaustive completeness, Lully worked out methods of modeling operations in logic, using symbolic designations of ultimate concepts (in his basic work, The Great Art). This led him to develop the first logical machine and made him one of the forerunners of combination methods in logic.

Lully was the founder and classic writer of Catalan literature and one of the greatest lyric poets of his time (Desconort, the Song of Ramon, and other works); he also wrote the philosophical novella Blanquerna.


Opera, omnia, vols. 1-8. Mainz, 1721-42.
Obres originales de Ramon Lull, vols. 1-2—. Palma, 1906-71—.
Obras literarias. Madrid, 1948.
Antologia de Ramon Lull, vols. 1-2. Madrid, 1961.


Sureda Blanes, F. El beato Ramon Lull. … Madrid, 1934.
Battlori, M. Introductión bibliográfica a los estudios Lulianos. Palma, 1945.
Rzyttka, B. Ars magna: Die grosse Kunst des Raimund Lull. Modling [1960].
Platzeck, E. W. Raimund Lull: Sein Leben, seine Werke…, vols. 1-2. Düsseldorf, 1962-64.
Estudios Lulianos. Palma, 1957—.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.