World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


THE WAYS OF CULTURAL TRANSMISSION IN THE WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (10TH-15TH CENTURIES) - 3/4: Iberian Sources for the Study of Late Medieval Western Islam. Arabo-Islamic Sources (349) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: THU 22, 2.30-4.30 pm

· NOT_DEFINED institution: IMF-CSIC (Barcelona)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Roser Salicrú i Lluch

· NOT_DEFINED language: English/Français

· NOT_DEFINED description: The intercultural networks between Jewish, Christian and Arabic communities during the Middle Ages have played a decisive role in the evolution of Western thought and have helped to shape the European identity.

The goal of this series of panels is to study the diverse facets of cultural transmission in the Western Mediterranean from the 11th to the 15th century. Today we know that the processes involved in this transmission were extremely complex, since transfer of knowledge among the different cultural and religious communities along the Mediterranean was both multi-directional and multi-layered, including both religious and social aspects.

The focus of this panel will be on the importance of Arabo-Islamic Iberian sources for the study of Late Medieval Western Islam. The panel will include papers on recent contributions from different source typologies: material and textual sources for the study of the Gharb al-Andalus (F. Branco Correia); Granadan and Mudejar sermons as transmitters of piety and culture (L.G. Jones); Arabic sources for the study on jihad (C. de la Puente); archival Arabic correspondence in Romance as example of interculturality (R. Salicrú i Lluch).

Chair: María Jesús Viguera Molins, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Paper presenter: Fernando Branco Correia, Universidade de Évora (Portugal), “Material and textual sources for the study of the Gharb al-Andalus. Recent contributions”
In the last ten years the publication and translation of new textual sources about al-Andalus and the results of several archaeological excavations and surveys have made it possible to put forward a new hypothesis about the dynamics of Islamic presence in the western part of al-Andalus / from the 8th to the 12th century. This paper will focus on some problems related to the occupation and the administration of the territory, the creation of defense systems against not only Christians from the North but also against rebels and the arrival of Vikings in the coast line, as well as on the relation between political power, religion and military campaigns.

Paper presenter: Linda G. Jones, IMF-CSIC (Barcelona), “Granadan and Mudejar Sermons: Sources for the Transmission of Andalusi Piety and Culture”
The topic of medieval Muslim homiletics has generated little scholarly interest among Western academics in comparison with the vast scholarship on preaching in Medieval Christendom. Most of the sources available for the study of Andalusi and Maghrebi piety and culture were written by and for religious and political elites. Yet sermons, both liturgical and occasional speeches (khutab) and moralizing exhortations (mawa`iz), were addressed and intended to appeal to mass as well as elite audiences, rendering intelligible to the former the exegetical, juridical, and pietistic traditions in which the latter specialized. The study of preaching offers a window not only onto the transmission of dogma, ideas, and cultural values “from the top down”. Sometimes it also reveals how non-elites received, responded to, or even informed these messages. Drawing upon examples from unedited and edited sermons from al-Andalus and the Maghreb, and upon biographical, hagiographic, and juridical accounts of preachers and their audiences, this paper seeks to demonstrate the sermon’s potential as a source for understanding medieval Islamic spirituality, intellectual history, and culture, and to illustrate the roles preachers played as cultural mediators and vectors of politico-religious authority. On the latter point, attention will be accorded to the activities of preachers both on and off the pulpit, highlighting their relations to political leaders, to their audiences, to their fellow `ulama´, and, particularly in the case of the Mudejars, to the Christian “other”. Finally, a word will be said about the limitations of medieval sermons and related materials as historical sources for modern scholars.

Paper presenter: Cristina De la Puente, ILC-CSIC (Madrid), “Arabic Sources for the Study on Jihad in al-Andalus”
Despite what one might imagine to be the case for a region of the Islamic world that
constituted a frontier for eight centuries, relatively few studies on jihad in al-Andalus
exist. Although the term jihad is unfortunately in vogue today, its meaning is disputed and its religious and political history is difficult to track. There are several Arabic sources for the study on jihad in al-Andalus under the Umayyad Caliphate. The most valuable information from the historical point of view concerning jihad is found in the chronicles, particularly in Ibn Hayyan's vast work, cited by numerous later writers, and which is an invaluable source for an acquaintance with the political history of the 10th century. In addition to these historical works, we must mention a series of prophetic sayings, hadith collections, biographies of the Prophet, ascetic literature, etc. written in
al-Andalus from the beginnings of the 9th century onwards. In this paper I will deal with jihad from an ideological and historiographical point of view.

Paper presenter: Roser Salicrú i Lluch, IMF-CSIC (Barcelona), “Arabic Correspondence Written in Romance, Arabic Correspondence Translated into Romance, Intertwined Examples of Interculturality”
The Archives of Barcelona contain a large number of correspondence sent by Western Islamic powers to the rulers of the Crown of Aragon, dating from the XIVth and XVth Centuries. Of course, the major part of this correspondence was written in Arabic, but some letters were directly written and sent in Romance. On the other hand, after receiving letters written in Arabic, Christian rulers needed to have them translated into Romance in order to understand them. Who was able, in the Islamic Chancelleries, to write in Spanish or in Catalan? Who was able, in Christian lands, to translate Arabic letters into Romance? Quoting to recent findings, the paper will offer some answers leading to different ambidextrous intercultural characters. On the other hand, some glimpses will be given about the cultural and linguistic adaptation which was unavoidable both in Arabic correspondence directly written in Romance, and in the translations of Arabic letters done in Christian lands. Last but not least, this paper will seek to highlight the importance of Christian sources for the knowledge of Medieval Islamic realities.