Religious Diversity and Culture in Medieval Spain

Universidad de Granada

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Religious Diversity and Culture in Medieval Spain

  • Host University

    Universidad de Granada

  • Location

    Granada, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, History, Multicultural Studies, Religion, Spanish Culture

  • Language Level

    High Advanced

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    During the Middle Ages, the Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by men and women of the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. These three cultures shared cities and villages, in addition to language and some customs, for many centuries, under both Muslim rule and Christian, and this legacy is part of our cultural heritage. This course aims to contribute to the acquisition of a better knowledge and understanding of the past and of Spanish culture, particularly through the study of the social relations, and religious and cultural backgrounds that were found in the medieval hispanic multicultural societies. Learning more about these phenomena may offer clues to understanding the present. For this reason, we will take a trip through the history of the presence and relationships of the three communities in the Iberian Peninsula, and briefly analyze the fate that each of them met with the coming of the Modern Era.

    I. Introduction. The Iberian Peninsula in ancient times.
    Origins of the Jewish presence in the Iberian Peninsula. Roman Hispania. The Visigoth period. Rules of coexistence and living together: the Council of Elvira

    II. The expansion of Islam. Al - Andalus.
    A frontier society.

    III. Living under Islamic rule. Muslim attitudes towards other religions.
    The Pact of Omar. Dimmies: Jews and mozárabes. The administrative organization of the aljamas.

    IV. Everyday life in al - Andalus.
    The impact of tradition and of religious practice in daily activities. Work

    V. Poetry in al - Andalus.
    The pre-Islamic influence and the creation of new genres. Poetic languages.

    VI. Science and philosophy in Arabic.
    The appropriation of science and Greek-Latin philosophy: a project shared by members of the three religions.

    VII. The Christian kingdoms and The conquest.
    Kingdoms and borders.

    VIII. Rules of coexistence and living together.
    Mudéjars and Jews. Servis Regis. The position of the Church.

    IX. Living under Christian rule.
    The administrative organization of the aljamas.

    X. Work and tasks of care and management of human life.
    Common spaces and interaction. Material culture and domestic utensils. The experience of women and their interaction with their contemporaries of other religions.

    XI.Literature in the Christian kingdoms: attitudes towards minorities.
    The vernacular languages. Cantares de Gesta. The Cantigas de Santa Maria. The Book of Good Love.

    XII. Literature in Hebrew.
    Poetry and narrative.

    XIII. Science and philosophy in Hebrew.
    Jewish attitudes towards science and philosophy. Astronomy. Medicine.

    XIV. Christian and Jewish art
    Influence of Moorish art and architecture.

    XV. The formation of cultural identities.
    Perception of the self and the other: narratives of legitimation; Sumptuary laws and forms of internal control; visual sources: the image of the Jews in Christian art.

    XVI. The events of 1391.
    Forced conversions. Crypto-judaism. The Inquisition.

    XVII. 1492, a date to remember
    The taking of Granada and its consequences. The edict of expulsion of the Jews. Cartography of diaspora.

    XVIII. Revolts and expulsion of the Moriscos (1609).

    Students who have not attended 80% of the classes will not be awarded a grade. There will be two written examinations that will constitute 40% of the final mark. The rest (60 %) of the assessment will be distributed in: 20% class participation and preparing the readings, 20% short presentations in class; and the final 20% from a short piece of writing to be handed in at the end of the term.


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