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KOHEPOCU — Result In Brief

Project ID: 229703
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Spain

A closer look at knowledge, religion and politics in Muslim Spain

Deeper understanding of the Islamic west in medieval times brings an important part of southwest Europe's history to light and helps foster east-west dialogue on a variety of topics.
A closer look at knowledge, religion and politics in Muslim Spain
The region of Al-Andalus, which once covered Muslim Spain and Portugal, thrived culturally and academically during medieval times, becoming a repository of knowledge while demonstrating effective government strategies. The EU-funded KOHEPOCU (Knowledge, heresy and political culture in the Islamic West. Eighth-fifteenth centuries) project highlighted the intellectual production of the Islamic west between the 8th and 15th centuries.

The project investigated how knowledge drove social and political processes such as those related to inclusion and exclusion, how it formed a political culture and how it legitimised those in command. It analysed the relationship between two interlinked cultural realities, the Almohad Caliphate (12th-13th centuries) and the reign of Alphonso X of Castile, who ruled from 1252 to 1284. The results were presented at several conferences, seminars and activities, as well as through the project website, covering various aspects relating to knowledge, heresy and political culture.

In addition, the project team highlighted which books had circulated in Al-Andalus and in North Africa during this period, before the rise of the Ottomans. It made the information available online to enable easier analysis of the intellectual history of the period with a wider global Islamic perspective and in relation to Latin Christendom.

The team focused on how the books disseminated knowledge about Islamic sciences, regulated life or had a more spiritual nature. Theologians, mystics and religious scholars made use of these books to manage knowledge and manoeuvre politically.

A publication titled 'Knowledge, heresy and politics in the Islamic West (eighth-fifteenth centuries)' emerged from the project, highlighting relationships among rulers, scholars and the masses. The monograph also focuses on social practices related to knowledge, as well as issues such as religious dissent, religious authority and political legitimacy.

The project's work sheds new light on the dynamics of politics, life, science and religion during this turbulent, yet very creative era. It helps researchers understand an important part of Iberian history, underlining the differences but also convergences of eastern and western civilisation. Ultimately, in today's increasingly troubled east-west dynamic, investigating the intricate, advanced society of Al-Andalus could be valuable in building bridges and fostering tolerance between different religious and political ideologies.

Related information


Religion, Muslim Spain, Islamic west, Al-Andalus, KOHEPOCU, political culture
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