The significance of these practices changed over time in the eyes of Christian warriors, priests, and common citizens who came to dominate all corners of the Iberian peninsula by the end of the fifteenth century. Certain "Moorish" fashions occasionally crossed over religious lines, while visits to a local bathhouse and indulgence in a wide range of exotic foods were frequently enjoyed by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. Yet at the end of the Middle Ages, attitudes hardened. With the fall of Granada, and the eventual forced baptism of all Spain's remaining Muslims, any perceived retention of traditional "Moorish" lifestyles might take on a sinister overtone of disloyalty and resistance. Distinctive clothing choices, hygienic practices, and culinary tastes could now lead to charges of secret allegiance to Islam. Repressive legislation, inquisitions, and ultimately mass deportations followed.
To Live Like a Moor traces the many shifts in Christian perceptions of Islam-associated ways of life which took place across the centuries between early Reconquista efforts of the eleventh century and the final expulsions of Spain's converted yet poorly assimilated Morisco population in the seventeenth. Using a wealth of social, legal, literary, and religious documentation in this, her last book, Olivia Remie Constable revealed the complexities and contradictions underlying a historically notorious transition from pluralism to intolerance.
Matters changed thereafter, when Fernando and Isabel launched a decade-long effort to subjugate Granada. Utilizing artillery and expending vast sums of money, they methodically conquered each Naṣrid stronghold until the capitulation of the city of Granada itself in 1492. Effective military and naval organization and access to a diversity of financial resources, joined with papal crusading benefits, facilitated the final conquest. Throughout, the Naṣrids had emphasized the urgency of a jihād waged against the Christian infidels, while the Castilians affirmed that the expulsion of the "enemies of our Catholic faith" was a necessary, just, and holy cause. The fundamentally religious character of this last stage of conflict cannot be doubted, Joseph F. O'Callaghan argues.
Enemies in the Plaza traces the changing attitudes toward religious minorities as manifested in public spectacles ranging from knightly tournaments, to religious processions, to popular festivals. Drawing on contemporary chronicles and municipal records as well as literary and architectural evidence, Devaney explores how public pageantry originally served to dissipate the anxieties fostered by the give-and-take of frontier culture and how this tradition of pageantry ultimately contributed to the rejection of these compromises. Through vivid depictions of frontier personalities, cities, and performances, Enemies in the Plaza provides an account of how public spectacle served to negotiate and articulate the boundaries between communities as well as to help Castilian nobles transform the frontier's religious ambivalence into holy war.
The challenges of cultural and religious diversity that face European and American societies today are not a new phenomenon. People in the Middle Ages lived in pluralistic societies, and they found highly interesting ways of dealing with religious and cultural diversity. While religious and political authorities commanded people to stick to their kind, some people explored the borderland between religious identities. In medieval Iberia, Christians and Muslims challenged the legal authorities’ prohibitions against crossing religious and cultural boundaries when they engaged in mixed marriages between Muslims and Christians or converted from one religion to the other. By examining the topics of conversion and mixed marriages in legal texts of Muslim and Christian origin, Pluralism in the Middle Ages explores the construction of boundaries as well as the reasons explaining such constructions. It demonstrates that the religious and social boundaries were not static, nor were they similarly defined by Islamic and Christian medieval cultures. Moreover, the book argues that Muslims and Christians in medieval Iberia did not constitute clearly separated groups, since various categories of people haunted the boundaries between them: false converts employing taqiya strategy (taking on an outward Christian identity while practicing Islam in secret), those engaged in mixed marriages or interreligious sexual relations (and their children), and converts, whose conversion may be perceived as sincere or insincere, total or partial.
Religious Foundations of Western Civilization introduces students to the major Western world religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—their beliefs, key concepts, history, as well as the fundamental role they have played, and continue to play, in Western culture.
Contributors include: Jacob Neusner, Alan J. Avery-Peck, Bruce D. Chilton, Th. Emil Homerin, Jon D. Levenson, William Scott Green, Seymour Feldman, Elliot R. Wolfson, James A. Brundage, Olivia Remie Constable, and Amila Buturovic.
"This book provides a superb source of information for scientists and scholars from all disciplines who are trying to understand religion in the context of human cultural evolution."
David Sloan Wilson, Professor, Departments of Biology and Anthropology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York
This is the right book at the right time. Globalization, religious revivalism, and international politics have made it more important than ever to appreciate the significant contributions of the Children of Abraham to the formation and development of Western civilization.
John L. Esposito, University Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Muslm-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology, and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
General Interest/Other Religions/Comparative Religion