ROMLANG 400 - Topics in Romance Languages and Literature
Section: 001 Narrative and Authority in Medieval Conversion Narratives
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Romance Languages and Literatures (ROMLANG)
Department: LSA Romance Languages & Literatures
1 - 4
With permission of instructor.
Other Course Info:
Course may be taught in a Romance language.
May be elected twice for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:

This course will examine narratives of religious conversion from the Middle Ages, mainly looking at narratives affixed to polemical and apologetic texts, although we will also consider canonical examples from Biblical and Patristic sources (Paul and Augustine). We will look at examples from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions, mainly from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, paying particular attention to two elements: the function of narrative structure as a representation of relative concepts of history and salvation; and the role of expertise, authenticity, and inversion in constructing the authoritative (and authorial) voice of the narrator. We will discuss the characterization of conversion in historiography as an "event" vs. as a "process" and the different characterizations of conversion in archival and devotional texts. We will also consider the changes in the Augustinian model of conversion wrought by twelfth-century developments in philosophical argument and thirteenth-century mendicant movements and language schools.

This course will be of interest to anyone working in medieval religious writing, those concerned with the comparison of sources (archival, devotional, polemical, etc.) in research, those who study intercultural contact and conflict in the Western Mediterranean, and/or those interested in the history of life writing and confession. Readings will include Petrus Alfonsi, Herman-Judah of Cologne, Ovadiah the Proselyte (a convert to Judaism recorded in the Cairo Genizah), Samaw'al al-Maghrebi (a twelfth-century convert to Islam in Baghdad), Raymond Llull, Abner of Burgos, Pablo de Santa María (Rabbi turned bishop of Burgos), and Anselm Turmeda (Abdallah al-Tarjuman) (a friar-turned-Muslim from Mallorca). The class will be given in English, but a basic reading knowledge of at least one relevant language (Latin, Castilian, Catalan, Arabic, or Hebrew) is suggested.

ROMLANG 400 - Topics in Romance Languages and Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
M 3:00PM - 6:00PM
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