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In his book, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination, John Tolan observes that the Christian response to the seventh century Arab conquests led to several responses, all in the attempt to answer the question: why? In medieval Christian cosmology God was the determinant actor. God caused nations to rise and fall. What possible explanation could there be for these blasphemous Saracens being granted dominion over true believers, and then prospering in ways that Christians never had?
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