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Iberian ModalitiesA Relational Approach to the Study of Culture in the Iberian Peninsula$
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Joan Ramon Resina

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318337

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318337.001.0001

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Mediterranean Exemplarities: The Case of Medieval Iberia

Mediterranean Exemplarities: The Case of Medieval Iberia

(p.178) Chapter Eleven Mediterranean Exemplarities: The Case of Medieval Iberia
Iberian Modalities

David Nirenberg

Liverpool University Press

As inter-religious conflict moves to the front of our geo-political consciousness, the Mediterranean draws increasing attention from those interested in the history of that conflict. This interest is often directed at establishing some over-arching thesis. Is there some essential and eternal disagreement between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam± Is there, on the contrary, a basis for solidarity between the three Abrahamic religions± Or is it, as many would like to believe, that one of these religious cultures is more tolerant than the others, or that one is intrinsically more violent± The histories of the Mediterranean produced in pursuing these questions often take the form of exempla, examples in the medieval sense: morally instructive narratives. This chapter focuses on “exemplary” uses of medieval Spanish history, with its “convivencia” of the three religions. It begins with an overview of such uses, from the Enlightenment to the present. It then outlines some of the dangers, political and moral, produced by the treatment of Iberian and Mediterranean history as exemplum. Finally, it takes up as a case study the history of Christian-Jewish-Converso relations in Castile and the Crown of Aragon, in order to suggest that a “non-exemplary” history can make better sense of these than existing exemplary histories can, and to offer a sketch of what such a history might look like.

Keywords:   Convivencia, religious violence, Anti-Semitism, Jewish-Christian Relations, Conversos, Exemplum, Castile, Aragon

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