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Level 5

5AAH1077: Jews and Muslims in Medieval Europe

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutorDr Alex Sapoznik 
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour seminar (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 1,500 word formative essay, 1 x 3,000 word essay (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Assessment pre 2019/20: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module explores the changing place of Jews and Muslims in medieval Europe, from the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula which began in 711 to the fall of Granada and the completion of the Christian reconquest in 1492; from the First Crusade through the next four centuries of expulsion and readmittance of Jews across Europe. We will examine the political, economic, cultural and religious contexts within which Jewish and Muslim communities lived, and which determined their status and security. We will consider how these changed over time and across space, and what led different communities to experience tolerance or hostility, violence or protection—and the extent to which these were intrinsically linked facets of medieval society. In comparing and contrasting experiences of Jewish and Muslim communities, this module offers the opportunity to investigate how different factors affected the position of religious minorities in Christian Europe.  

Provisional teaching plan

  1. Jews and Christians under Muslim rule
  2. Reconquest                                    
  3. France
  4. England
  5. Germany
  6. Crusades
  7. Blood libel and ritual murder
  8. Convivencia?
  9. Family
  10. Encounter: Dialogue and debate

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these texts is not mandatory.

A. Abulafia, Christian-Jewish Relations, 1000-1300: Jews in the Service of Medieval Christendom (New York, 2011)

R. Chazan, The Jews of medieval Western Christendom, 1000-1500
(Cambridge, 2006)

M.R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (Princeton, 1994)

D. Nirenberg, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton, 1996)

J.M. Powell (ed.), Muslims Under Latin Rule, 1100-1300 (Princeton, 1990)

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