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Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain

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The Middle Ages in Spain--the the period from the Muslim conquest of 711 to the expulsion of the Jews and the defeat of the last Muslim ruler in 1492--witnessed an extraordinary Golden Age through the intermingling of its Jewish, Muslim, and Christian inhabitants. This volume explores the nature of their coexistence (termed convivencia by Spanish historians), which embrace The Middle Ages in Spain--the the period from the Muslim conquest of 711 to the expulsion of the Jews and the defeat of the last Muslim ruler in 1492--witnessed an extraordinary Golden Age through the intermingling of its Jewish, Muslim, and Christian inhabitants. This volume explores the nature of their coexistence (termed convivencia by Spanish historians), which embraced not only ideological interchange and cultural influence, but also mutual friction, rivalry, and suspicion. The cultural and social dynamics underlying convivencia powerfully influenced the creation of poetry, art, architecture, and the material culture of Spain, as well as the transmission and absorption of scientific ideas and technology from East to West. Explored by leading scholars in each of these fields, the cultural treasures of convivencia range from Hebrew biblical manuscripts illuminated with Islamic stylistic motifs, to astrolabes with Latin inscriptions, to the first examples of secular Hebrew poetry. More than one hundred of the objects are united for the first time in an exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York. At a time when the study of cultural fusion is receiving increasing attention, this volume offers a fresh and comprehensive view of Spain's pluralistic medieval society. Moreover, it celebrates an inspiring history of cultural achievement in the context of intergroup relations that were both negative and positive. 36 color and 60 b/w plates.


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The Middle Ages in Spain--the the period from the Muslim conquest of 711 to the expulsion of the Jews and the defeat of the last Muslim ruler in 1492--witnessed an extraordinary Golden Age through the intermingling of its Jewish, Muslim, and Christian inhabitants. This volume explores the nature of their coexistence (termed convivencia by Spanish historians), which embrace The Middle Ages in Spain--the the period from the Muslim conquest of 711 to the expulsion of the Jews and the defeat of the last Muslim ruler in 1492--witnessed an extraordinary Golden Age through the intermingling of its Jewish, Muslim, and Christian inhabitants. This volume explores the nature of their coexistence (termed convivencia by Spanish historians), which embraced not only ideological interchange and cultural influence, but also mutual friction, rivalry, and suspicion. The cultural and social dynamics underlying convivencia powerfully influenced the creation of poetry, art, architecture, and the material culture of Spain, as well as the transmission and absorption of scientific ideas and technology from East to West. Explored by leading scholars in each of these fields, the cultural treasures of convivencia range from Hebrew biblical manuscripts illuminated with Islamic stylistic motifs, to astrolabes with Latin inscriptions, to the first examples of secular Hebrew poetry. More than one hundred of the objects are united for the first time in an exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York. At a time when the study of cultural fusion is receiving increasing attention, this volume offers a fresh and comprehensive view of Spain's pluralistic medieval society. Moreover, it celebrates an inspiring history of cultural achievement in the context of intergroup relations that were both negative and positive. 36 color and 60 b/w plates.

51 review for Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cynda

    Excellent Book. Great Understanding brought to a level for those who have a basic understanding of Hispanic culture. This convivencia/coexistence is not the integration we aspire for today. It would be more like pre-Civil Rights Movement in US--before academic, housing, and workplace integration. We are not really intregrated when we consider the way too many 1000s of people of color, particularly those whose African ancestory is more pronounced than mine. But we who chose to live color bravely/ Excellent Book. Great Understanding brought to a level for those who have a basic understanding of Hispanic culture. This convivencia/coexistence is not the integration we aspire for today. It would be more like pre-Civil Rights Movement in US--before academic, housing, and workplace integration. We are not really intregrated when we consider the way too many 1000s of people of color, particularly those whose African ancestory is more pronounced than mine. But we who chose to live color bravely/other bravely intend to have more interaction and integration. Convivencia is well defined at https:/en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Convivencia This book has much to offer for those of us whose ancestors hav come from Spanish Jew and Spanish Moor ancestors. I am see ancestors--Iberian, Jewish, Arabs--bravely interacting on a scale humans had never done before. These are my brave ancestors. Often pragmatic. The line I come from chose pragmatically, not spiritually, to be converos/Christian converts. With this book, my understanding of my ancestors deepens. My respect deepens. My heart heals some. Before we have Intregration. We must have Coexistence. Namaste.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    In addition to a very fine overview of the history of a little known period, this book also provides a sliver of hope that working relations between Christian, Muslim and Jew are not impossible.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meryll Levine Page

    This is a catalogue that accompanied an exhibition at The Jewish Museum in 1992. It's a collection of articles about the interplay among Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain. Unlike so many historical surveys, these essays have depth and dimension and approach the subject through multiple lenses. In addition, the photographs of artifacts and architecture are superb. This is a catalogue that accompanied an exhibition at The Jewish Museum in 1992. It's a collection of articles about the interplay among Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain. Unlike so many historical surveys, these essays have depth and dimension and approach the subject through multiple lenses. In addition, the photographs of artifacts and architecture are superb.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shira

    This excellently written and well-sourced book has inspired me, when I can find the time, to get back to my work on learning both the several versions of classical Hebrew and Arabic, and especially to read more of the poets and the Rambam's works in the wonderful medley of languages in which they were working. I suppose I will have to add Persian at some point to my toolbox in order to understand the original framework in which the earlier poetry was set. I loved the way each set of cultural pie This excellently written and well-sourced book has inspired me, when I can find the time, to get back to my work on learning both the several versions of classical Hebrew and Arabic, and especially to read more of the poets and the Rambam's works in the wonderful medley of languages in which they were working. I suppose I will have to add Persian at some point to my toolbox in order to understand the original framework in which the earlier poetry was set. I loved the way each set of cultural pieces was traced back to origins in the East, and then shown to have interacted in unique ways with the political environments in which the various competing kingdoms were seeking to attract talent and prestige to themselves, creating a unique environment (particularly starting around the reign of Alfonso X el Sabio, for the evolving Castilian language). The Tahkemoni in particular is worth learning more about, and apparently in each of the relevant languages (I am also seeing poetry quoted in Turkish translation in the series Muhteşem Yüzyıl and the comments of modern Turkish readers on the need to read the poems in the original Persian). A wonderful book to keep coming back to again and again. 21 May, 12017 HE 40th Day of the Omer, the 25th of Iyar 5777, which is the 24-Shaban-1438 Shira Dest.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

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