SPANISH 488 - Topics in Hispanic Literature/History/Culture
Fall 2021, Section 002 - The Jewish-Christian Debate in Medieval Iberia and Beyond
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Spanish (SPANISH)
Department: LSA Romance Languages & Literatures
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
Nine credits chosen between SPANISH 279 and 399; or two RCLANG 324's and six credits chosen between SPANISH 279 and 399.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Where does Antisemitism come from? How has it survived into the modern-day? To find an answer, we have to look back in time, long before the conflicts of the Holocaust, to the origins of European Christianity. Throughout the Middle Ages, Christianity compared itself in to Judaism, and this rivalry was nowhere more active than in the Iberian Peninsula, the land in Europe with the largest Jewish population. This course explores the history of Jewish-Christian debate and conflict in the pre-modern period. It considers the formation of the “hermeneutical Jew,” an image formed in Christian writing that depicted Jews as “bad” readers of the Bible. It will then turn to medieval engagements with these traditional images, looking at the rise of the Christian friars (“monks with a social life”) in the thirteenth century and the role of public debate in the later Middle Ages. We will read Nachmanides’s representation of the Disputation of Barcelona (1263), including the modern graphic novel based on his account. We will look at philosophical attacks by Jews and Christians on each other’s texts (Joseph Kimhi, Petrus Alfonsi, Abner of Burgos), and conclude with a discussion of the “converso” problem of fifteenth-century Iberia, in which debates raged over the place of Jewish converts in Christian society (culminating in the foundation of the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews in 1492). This course will constitute a historical exploration of the important role of Judaism in Christian thought and the common arguments, both philosophical and literary, used by Jews throughout the Middle Ages to counter Christian attacks and resist Christian appeals to conversion and assimilation.

This course counts for the literature credit for the Spanish minor.

Language of instruction (Spanish or English) will be based on student ability, and discussion may be in English some or part of the time. All students enrolled in Spanish 488 must complete readings and writing assignments in Spanish. All students enrolled in Judaic Studies 417 can choose to read and write in English or Spanish.


SPANISH 488 - Topics in Hispanic Literature/History/Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
M 10:00AM - 11:30AM
W 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (REC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (REC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: For Fall 2021: During certain periods of the term, we will have an ?in-person day? with large discussions about the course content; during other periods of the term, we will have an "online day" where students collaborate in small-group activities via Canvas and Zoom.

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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