Religious Diversity in the Medieval Mediterranean, Part 2: Intra-communal Disputation and Discussion

AHA Session 207
Medieval Academy of America 4
Saturday, January 4, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Columbia Hall 1 (Washington Hilton)
Alex J. Novikoff, Fordham University
Brian A. Catlos, University of Colorado Boulder

Session Abstract

The second panel in the “Religious Diversity in the Medieval Mediterranean” workshop looks at intra-communal disputation and polemics as they fractured or complicated what are often taken to be discrete and monolithic religious affiliations. Tamar Marvin takes a fresh look at the Maimonidean controversy that fractured western Judaism through the lens of communities in fourteenth-century southwest France. Abigail Krasner Balbale shows how Muslims in fragmented post-caliphal al-Andalus could deploy the language of holy war against their own and even as a rationalization for collaboration with Christians. Raha Rafii turns to the ubiquitous but problematic figure of the Jewish physician in the Islamic world, and shows how different authorities dealt with the problem of Jewish practitioners in different ways, and what that reveals about their controversial position. Finally, Manuela Ceballos disentangles the complex currents of identity that were manifested by late medieval converts of Islam – a common phenomenon in the hyper-connected Mediterranean. Identity in this world of religious boundaries and certainties is revealed through these papers to be fluid and variegated. It is a panel that features four young women scholars from leading North American PhD programs, each engaging with the negotiation of ethno-religious identity from original perspectives, and each complicating our notions of religious affiliation in the Middle Ages.