Polemical Encounters

Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Iberia and Beyond

Edited by Gerard Wiegers, Mercedes García-Arenal

Paperback - £35.95

Publication date:

19 November 2019

Length of book:

440 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271081229

This collection takes a new approach to understanding religious plurality in the Iberian Peninsula and its Mediterranean and northern European contexts. Focusing on polemics—works that attack or refute the beliefs of religious Others—this volume aims to challenge the problematic characterization of Iberian Jews, Muslims, and Christians as homogeneous groups.

From the high Middle Ages to the end of the seventeenth century, Christian efforts to convert groups of Jews and Muslims, Muslim efforts to convert Christians and Jews, and the defensive efforts of these communities to keep their members within the faiths led to the production of numerous polemics. This volume brings together a wide variety of case studies that expose how the current historiographical focus on the three religious communities as allegedly homogeneous groups obscures the diversity within the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities as well as the growing ranks of skeptics and outright unbelievers.

Featuring contributions from a range of academic disciplines, this paradigm-shifting book sheds new light on the cultural and intellectual dynamics of the conflicts that marked relations among these religious communities in the Iberian Peninsula and beyond.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Antoni Biosca i Bas, Thomas E. Burman, Mònica Colominas Aparicio, John Dagenais, Óscar de la Cruz, Borja Franco Llopis, Linda G. Jones, Daniel J. Lasker, Davide Scotto, Teresa Soto, Ryan Szpiech, Pieter Sjoerd van Koningsveld, and Carsten Wilke.

“Mercedes García-Arenal and Gerard Wiegers have fundamentally advanced our understanding of and the debate around the meaning of medieval polemic. This collection of essays is original and impressive, and it will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of scholars.”

—Hussein Fancy, author of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon