This short work in dialogue form was written between September and October 1311, during Llull’s journey from Paris to Vienne in the Dauphinois, where a General Council of the Church was being held. Ramon was on his way to the Council in order to request that a military order be organised to fight the infidels in the Holy Land and that schools for missionaries be founded. Peter, the cleric, against whom Llull was pitting himself, was an invincible opponent, somebody who would never accept Llull’s point of view. In fact, Peter was on his way to the Council in order to obtain benefices for himself and his family: he was a man with his feet on the ground who wished to climb the social ladder. This was a procedure repugnant to Ramon, the layman, who had given up all his property and devoted his entire life to the exaltation of God’s honour. Ramon considered that Peter’s attitude was a moral perversion; Peter thought that Ramon was mad, which is what the medieval term ‘phantasticus’ meant.
Once the two characters had introduced themselves, Ramon proposed a discussion about ‘fantasy’, that is to say madness, governed by certain rules which consisted of debating the issue from five points of view: the concept of fantasy, the four causes of being, honour, delectation and order. The outcome of the dialogue is distressing, because Peter remained convinced that Ramon was a fool, and Ramon thought that there was no remission for Peter’s sin.
The importance of this short work resides in Llull’s capacity to provide a clear account of the negative opinion his adversaries had of him, while creating highly emotionally-charged propaganda for his intellectual and spiritual project.