Alfonso X and Islam: narratives of conflict and co-operation in the Estoria de España

Kusi-Obodum, Christian (2018). Alfonso X and Islam: narratives of conflict and co-operation in the Estoria de España. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Medieval Iberian literary tradition constitutes a vast corpus of writings with which to study interfaith relations – in particular, Christian attitudes towards Muslims. This thesis focuses on works produced in the thirteenth century under king Alfonso X of Castile-Leon. Scholars have often looked to Alfonso X's poetry and legal texts to explore Christian responses to Islam, at a pivotal moment of Christian domination in the Peninsula. The thesis looks to Alfonso's historiography (the Estoria de España), which has received much less attention from scholars of interfaith relations.
This study employs a historical-critical method of interpretation to explore the transmission and reformulation of Christian society's attitudes towards Islam. It offers a sophisticated analysis of the narratives of three prominent figures in the history of Spanish Islam: a) the Prophet Muhammad, b) Ibn Abi Amir al-Mansur, and c) King al- Mamun of Toledo. The study reveals the wide-ranging and contrasting attitudes towards Muslims visible not only in the writings of Alfonso X, but throughout the broader historiography and literature of medieval Spain. The thesis explains how these contradictions are rooted in the paradoxes of conflict and co-operation among the faiths in the Peninsula. It concludes that the ambivalence of Christian writers allows for the coexistence of both disdain and respect for Muslims in medieval society.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DP Spain


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