Minorities in Contact in the Medieval Mediterranean

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Co-edited by Luke Yarbrough, Ph.D. 2012.

An alternative perspective on minority encounters in the medieval Mediterranean.

What is a minority? How did members of minority groups in the medieval Mediterranean world interact with contemporaries belonging to other groups? In what ways did those contacts affect their social positions and identities? The essays collected in this volume approach these questions from a variety of angles, examining polemic, social norms, economic exchange, linguistic transformations, and power dynamics.

These essays recast the concept of minority — as a mutable condition rather than a fixed group designation — and explore previously-neglected collective and individual interactions between and among minorities around the medieval Mediterranean basin. Minorities are often defined as such because they were in some way excluded from access to resources or denied participation as a consequence of a group affiliation or facet of their identity. Yet, at times their distinctiveness also lay less in their exclusion than in particular ways of relating to spheres of power, whether political or moral, and in certain dissenting conceptions of the world. Through these contributions we shed light on both the continuities that such interactions displayed across intervals of space and time, and the changes that they underwent in particular locales and historical moments.

Table of Contents



Minorities in Contact or Processes of Categorization — ANNLIESE NEF

Women at the Crossroads of Muslim/non-Muslim Encounters: Conversion and Intermarriage in the Classical Islamic Period — URIEL SIMONSOHN

Conversion and Religious Polemic between Jews and Christians in Egypt from the Fatimid through the Mamluk Periods — ALEXANDRA CUFFEL

Jewish-Christian Theological Polemic as Reflected in Judaeo-Arabic Biblical Interpretations — ZVI STAMPFER

Polemics between Religious Minorities: Christian Adversus Judaeos from the Early Abbasid Period — BARBARA ROGGEMA

Latins and Levantine Christian Minorities after the Fourth  Lateran Council (1215): Jacques de Vitry’s Descriptions of Eastern Christians in the Kingdom of Jerusalem — JAN VANDEBURIE

Lamenting Jerusalem: The Papacy, the Kings’ Crusade, and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia — TAMAR M. BOYADJIAN

'And the Lord will raise a great emir in a land’: Muslim Political Power Viewed by Coptic-Arabic Authors: A Case in the Arabic ‘Apocalypse of Pseudo Athanasius II' — JUAN PEDRO MONFERRER SALA

Keeping their Place: The Prohibition on Non-Muslim Scribes in Ahkām ahl al-dhimma — ANTONIA BOSANQUET

A Christian Official in the Mamluk State Speaks: Ibn al-Suqā‘ī on Minorities and Power — LUKE YARBROUGH

Jews in Government Functions in al-Andalus during the Taifa Period: The Case of the Banu Nagrila of Granada — ALEJANDRO GARCIA SANJUAN

More than Meets the Eye: Readings of Economic Interaction between a Muslim, a Jew and a Christian in Castile — CLARA ALMAGRO VIDAL

A Reassessment of Frankish Settlement Patterns in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem: 493–583/1099–1187 — BOGDAN C. SMARANDACHE

Does Cohabitation produce Convivencia? Relationships between Jews and Muslims in Castilian Christian Towns — ANA ECHEVARRIA

Muslims and Jews in Medieval Portugal: Interaction and Negotiation (14th–15th c.) — MARIA FILOMENA LOPES DE BARROS

Conclusion — JOHN TOLAN



“Minorities in Contact in the Medieval Mediterranean is an excellent collection that forces the reader to reconsider how scholars study inter-confessional contacts and how to balance evidence from literary sources with documentary evidence of lived experiences. The volume gives voice to the power and agency of so-called ‘minorities’ across time and space in the medieval Mediterranean, and the encounters that occurred between them.” (Marci Freedman, in The Medieval Review, 21.11.28)

Turnhout, Belgium
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