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The Intellectual and Material Legacies of Late Medieval Sephardic Judaism: An Interdisciplinary Approach


From the 13th to the 15th centuries, the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula (Sepharad) lived side by side with Christians and Muslims. Although persistent tensions existed between these three groups, their members also participated in a common artistic, intellectual and scientific endeavour that produced the requisite conditions for the dawn of the European Renaissance. The worldviews of all three communities revolved around their sacred texts—the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and the Qur’an. This project will take as a focal point Judaism and its sacred text, and will explore its role and impact in late medieval society at large. The project will coordinate the research of a group of young scholars doing groundbreaking work in the field, all sharing a cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary perspective. As a group, we will bring under analysis a wide range of concepts—the production of sacred texts as objects, the history of their cataloguing and preservation, the multiple and conflicting interpretations of their contents, their role as social agents that fostered coexistence or created exclusions, their impact in literature and the arts, their relationship with medieval science, and their relationship to Muslim and Christian Scriptures. The project has a special relevance for today’s multicultural and pluralistic Europe, as it can help to minimize fundamentalist readings of the sacred texts, bring about a greater understanding of the historical roots of modern intercultural conflict and, ultimately, contribute to the development of non essentialist theories of race and culture.

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Calle serrano 117
28006 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Alberto Sereno Alvarez (Mr.)
Principal investigator
Esperanza Alfonso (Dr.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)