Viewed alternately as an idyllic time of cultural cooperation - such as in the poetry and art of Andalusia - or as the foundation of the eternal conflicts between the Abrahamic religious sects - from the Crusades to the Inquisition - medieval religious relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been a point of broad contention among medievalists for decades. Through a variety of primary and secondary sources we will investigate the changing social conditions that helped to create religious interactions ranging from cooperation to violence.

Topics will include Christian theological understandings of the Jews, Jewish life under both Christians and Muslims, the Crusades, Spanish Convivencia, the Inquisition, and general legal culture. These medieval antecedents all resonate clearly in the modern world and often provide the historical/mythic backdrop to contemporary debates on continuing modern conflicts from Israel/Palestine to Afghanistan. While the focus of the course will be the complexities of medieval religious relationships, the end of the course will spend time looking directly at how the medieval past gets used in the framing of modern political rhetoric.
Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM