Without losing themselves in detail and without sacrificing complexity, the authors discuss the political, social, and economic continuity in Islamic Spain, or al-Andalus, in light of its cultural and intellectual effects upon the rest of Europe. Medieval Christianity, Watt points out, found models of scholarship in the Islamic philosophers and adapted the idea of holy war to its own purposes while the final reunification of Spain under the aegis of the Reconquista played a significant role in bringing Europe out of the Middle Ages. A survey essential to anyone seeking a more complete knowledge of European or Islamic history, the volume also includes sections on literature and philology by Pierre Cachia.
This series of "Islamic surveys" is designed to give the educated reader something more than can be found in the usual popular books. Each work undertakes to survey a special part of the field, and to show the present stage of scholarship here. Where there is a clear picture this will be given; but where there are gaps, obscurities and differences of opinion, these will also be indicated. Full and annotated bibliographies will afford guidance to those who want to pursue their studies further. There will also be some account of the nature and extent of the source material. The series is addressed in the first place to the educated reader, with little or no previous knowledge of the subject; its character is such that it should be of value also to university students and others whose interest is of a more professional kind.
This book gives the first complete English translation of this key contemporary text, together with notes, comments, appendices and maps. It is introduced by a survey of scholarly opinion on the text from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century in which all the - often heated - arguments around the text are explained. The translator concludes his introduction with an in-depth examination of the manuscript containing the only surviving copy of the text and presents some interesting new evidence provided by scribe which has gone unnoticed until now. Providing new insights into this significant Arabic text, this book will be of great interest to scholars of the history of Spain and Portugal, Islamic history, and Mediaeval European history.
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.
Al-Andalus, the Iberian territory ruled by Islam from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, was home to a flourishing philosophical culture among Muslims and the Jews who lived in their midst. Andalusians spoke proudly of the region's excellence, and indeed it engendered celebrated thinkers such as Maimonides and Averroes. Sarah Stroumsa offers an integrative new approach to Jewish and Muslim philosophy in al-Andalus, where the cultural commonality of the Islamicate world allowed scholars from diverse religious backgrounds to engage in the same philosophical pursuits.
Stroumsa traces the development of philosophy in Muslim Iberia from its introduction to the region to the diverse forms it took over time, from Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism to rational theology and mystical philosophy. She sheds light on the way the politics of the day, including the struggles with the Christians to the north of the peninsula and the Fāṭimids in North Africa, influenced philosophy in al-Andalus yet affected its development among the two religious communities in different ways.
While acknowledging the dissimilar social status of Muslims and members of the religious minorities, Andalus and Sefarad highlights the common ground that united philosophers, providing new perspective on the development of philosophy in Islamic Spain.
Islamic philosophy and theology are looked at together in a chronological framework in this volume. From a modern standpoint, this juxtaposition of the two disciplines is important for the understanding of both; but it should be realized at the outset that it is a reversal of the traditional Islamic procedure. Not merely were the disciplines different, but in the earlier centuries the exponents were two different sets of persons, trained in two different educational traditions, each with its own separate institutions. There was little personal contact between philosophers and theologians, and the influence of the two disciplines on one another was largely by way of polemics. Eventually while philosophy died out as a separate discipline in the Islamic world, many parts of it were incorporated in theology.
This work is designed to give the educated reader something more than can be found in the usual popular books. The work undertakes to survey a special part of the field, and to show the present stage of scholarship. Where there is a clear picture this will be given; but where there are gaps, obscurities and differences of opinion, these will also be indicated. This work is brilliant in its design, style, and intimate understanding. It is a must read for specialists and policy makers alike.
W. Montgomery Watt (1909-2006) was professor emeritus of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of numerous books, including Muslim-Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misperceptions, Islam: A Short History, Muhammad's Mecca, and Islamic Surveys: The Influence of Islam on Medieval Europe.