Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Christians, Jews and Muslims in Medieval Society

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Relations between Christians, Muslims and Jews in the medieval Mediterranean were complex, multi-faceted and at times even contradictory. Interactions between these three religious communities ranged from outright hostility to relatively peaceful coexistence. This study-unit will focus on relations between each group in regions where they shared a common social and cultural space: Spain, Sicily (and Malta), and the Near East from c.800 to c.1400. Students will explore the nature and extent of interactions among the three faiths as well as examining the difficult question of the roots of religious intolerance and violence, both in daily life as well as in time of religious-based conflict.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit will address various themes that together will allow students to form a multi-faceted perspective on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages. Through case-studies of three regions in southern Europe and the Islamic East, students will learn about legal and social relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims, economic ties and commercial networks, intellectual and cultural exchanges and influences, the image of the Other in medieval society, and the way that religious authorities sought to situate the other religious group into their world view.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Understand major developments in inter-faith relations from the eighth through the fifteenth century;
- Reflect critically about forms of intolerance and co-existence in medieval society and draw comparisons with modern society;
- Appreciate the complexity of religious and ethnic identities in medieval society.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Explain and assess the links among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments and theory in social and historical analysis;
- Critically analyze written documents as a historical source;
- Write a research paper based on original evidence and scholarly works.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Abulafia, A. Christian-Jewish Relations 1000-1300: Jews in the Service of Medieval Christendom. Routledge, 2011.
- Goitein, S. D. A Mediterranean Society: An Abridgment in One Volume. 1999.
- Metcalfe, A. The Muslims of Medieval Italy. 2009.
- Wettinger, G. The Jews of Malta in the Late Middle Ages. 1985.

Supplementary Texts:

- Bresc, H. Arabi per lingua, Ebrei per religione. L'evoluzione dell'ebraismo siciliano in ambiente latino dal XII al XV secolo. 2001.
- Ashtor, E. Levant Trade in the Later Middle Ages. 1983.
- Catlos, B. The Victors and the Vanquished: Christians and Muslims of Catalonia and Aragon, 1050-1300. 2007.
- Chazan, R. Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe. 2010.
- Cohen, M. Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages.1995.
- Lopez, R. and I. W. Raymond. Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World. 2001.
- Goitein, S. D. A Mediterranean Society. The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, 5 vols. 1967-88.
- Moore, R. I. Formation of a Persecuting Society, 2nd edition. 2007.
- Nirenberg, D. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages. 1996.
- Simonsohn, S. Between Scylla and Charybdis: The Jews in Sicily. 2011.

ADDITIONAL NOTES This study-unit is offered only to History/European and Global History students.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mark Aloisio

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.