Cometanic Literary Analysis on Religion in Medieval Spain

Taylorian, Brandon Reece orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2632-5642 (2020) Cometanic Literary Analysis on Religion in Medieval Spain. Astronist Institution.

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Chris Lowney, in his 2005 book, A Vanished World: Muslims Christians and Jews in Medieval Spain and Maria Rosa Menocal in her 2002 publication The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, each give an account of the history of Spain during the Medieval period. Menocal’s work aims to demonstrate the contributive and lasting influence of the Islamic culture on the Iberian Peninsula, achieved through an era in which tolerance was prioritised and the diversity of faiths celebrated. In contrast, Lowney’s work paints a different picture of the same place and period, arguing that the historiography of Medieval Spain has been excessively depicted as an exemplar of tolerance from Islamic rulers. The statement for this essay focuses particularly on Menocal’s questionable emphasis of the word “tolerance” and the belief that Medieval Spain is inapplicable to the present day context, so much so that any such application is not only unfair, but does a disservice to both periods. To add to this, the fact that both Lowney and Menocal possess different professional backgrounds is also postulated to have made a significant impact on the historical accounts they have draw. To extrapolate these points from the texts, an investigation will take place focusing on why Lowney and Menocal have written of Medieval Spain in such divergent ways, as primary factor to which is that both come from markedly different backgrounds.

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