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The representation of Jews and Judaism in al-Andalus: texts and contexts

In al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia), the Jewish community flourished to the extent that their historical experience was labelled as a ‘Golden Age’ by 19th century European Jews who found in it a precedent to legitimize their insertion into the wider society: in Sefarad, they claimed, Jews – while adapting to Islamic society and civilization – had managed to strengthen their religion and culture. The ways in which Jews living in al-Andalus reflected about such adaptation and the tensions it created within the community have been studied by a number of scholars, and the ‘Golden Age’ trope and its modern (controversial) reception have also been analyzed. Having such studies as the background, my interest lies in how Jews and Judaism were represented by Andalusi Muslims, and the extent to which they took into account the internal Jewish perspectives. The views of some Muslim authors such as Ibn Ḥazm (d. 1064) and Ṣāʽid al-Ṭulayṭulī (d. 1069) have been so far paid attention to in modern scholarship, but there are less known texts that illuminate the areas in which Muslims showed some interest about a religious community that formed part of their society. Andalusi religious coexistence (‘convivencia’) has both been celebrated and denied often in connection with present needs and emotions. Looking back at the texts in which Andalusi Muslims talked about Jews and the contexts in which such texts were written raises questions about how al-Andalus has been and is imagined and its relation to history, and what is gained and what is lost by privileging what I would call an ’emotional’ approach to al-Andalus.


!!! 27.02.2024 !!!

Session 1: The early period: Jews as helpers of the Muslims

Session 2: The Cordoban caliphate and the Taifa period: Arabized and ‘Islamicate’ Jews


!!! 28.02.2024 !!!

Session 3: The Almohad period: forced conversion

Session 4: Sefarad and Convivencia


February 27
February 28
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Center for Advanced Studies (CAS)
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