William of Rubruck, Mongolia, Franciscan missions


William of Rubruck’s account of journeying to Mongolia (1253-55) remained relatively elusive in scholarly and popular discourses. A Franciscan friar, his mission helped tentatively acquaint two (literally/figuratively) distant civilizations, Latin Christendom and the Mongol Empire. We may assess the extent to which a critical reading of Rubruck can propel knowledge of a Christian Eastward mission. Rubruck’s account was found to evince a degree of restraint and cosmopolitan curiosity that not only went against the grain of Christendom’s exceptionalism and expansionism, but also enabled the pursuit of a rudimentary inter-civilizational dialogue.