The Faiths of Abraham in Medieval Iberia

Authored by: John Edwards

The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415722834
eBook ISBN: 9781315709895
Adobe ISBN:


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Both in academic work and in the general perception fostered, for example, by the tour guides of Córdoba’s Mezquita-Catedral, medieval Spain came to be regarded, in late twentieth-century historiography, as the scene of a remarkable and generally peaceful co-existence (convivencia) between adherents of the three religious faiths of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet in reality the religious history of “the Spains,” including Portugal, in the medieval period contained all the contradictions and conflicts which had arisen from the development of the newer faiths, Christianity and Islam, out of Judaism. In the medieval period, in the Iberian Peninsula and elsewhere, none of these religions truly accepted the validity of the others, and although those which possessed political and military power, the Christians and the Muslims, were not always at war, the latent conflict between them was always there to be revived and exploited at any opportune moment. The Iberian Jewish communities, having no political power, were always liable to be exploited and, especially between 1200 and 1500, became a target for attack, particularly in the areas of the Peninsula ruled by Christian princes.

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