PDF The Sephardic Frontier The Reconquista And the Jewish ✓ construyamos.co

No subject looms larger over the historical landscape of medieval Spain than that of the reconuista the rapid expansion of the power of the Christian kingdoms into the Muslim populated lands of southern Iberia which created a broad frontier zone that for two centuries remained a region of warfare and peril Drawing on a large fund of unpublished material in royal ecclesiastical and municipal archives as well as rabbinic literature Jonathan Ray reveals a fluid often volatile society that transcended religious boundaries and attracted Jewish colonists from throughout the peninsula and beyondThe result was a wave of Jewish settlements marked by a high degree of openness mobility and interaction with both Christians and Muslims Ray's view challenges the traditional historiography which holds that Sephardic communities already fully developed were simply reestablished on the frontier In the early years of settlement Iberia's crusader kings actively supported Jewish economic and political activity and Jewish interaction with their Christian neighbors was extensiveOnly as the frontier was firmly incorporated into the political life of the peninsular states did these frontier Sephardic populations begin to forge the communal structures that resembled the older Jewish communities of the North and the interior By the end of the thirteenth century royal intervention had begun to restrict the amount of contact between Jewish and Christian communities signaling the end of the open society that had marked the frontier for most of the century Ross Brann Cornell University American Historical Review


10 thoughts on “The Sephardic Frontier The Reconquista And the Jewish Community in Medieval Iberia Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past

  1. says:

    The inspiration which led me to this book is Peter Coles' translation and compilation of Medieval Jewish Poetry called The Dream of the Poem I have been devouring and digesting that poetry for years and wanted to get some further historical context The Sephardic Frontier provided the context for the second half of the poems in The Dream of the Poem which were written during the Reconquista The Reconquista was a period in Spanish history where Christians re conquered Spain from increasingly restrictive Muslim rulersJonathan Ray's approach to writing this history focused strictly on the Jewish Community within the larger Christian Reconquista He painted a clear picture of the ways that Jewish communities had a very in between status not significantly oppressed on the frontier but they certainly had institutional and cultural barriers For instance although there were Jewish community leaders and even Jews involved in local government there were also laws that recommended clothes like odd capes that only Jews had to wear He also described how Jews were regulated differently by the Spanish royal government with increased taxation that went to the Crown whereas the Christian majority paid most of their taxes to the ChurchHe also made a deliberate effort to demonstrate what life was like for all classes of Jews within the community A striking aspect of Medieval life in Spain was the amount of segregation even to the point where different religious communities applied their own laws to people of their religion So Jew on Jew crime was handled by a Jewish court system but crimes between a Jew and a Christian were always tried within the context of the Spanish crown The diversity of this heterogeneous legal framework made me wonder how many legal systems currently operate at one time and which groups of people fall under which frameworksI also always enjoy reading how not quite so religious Jews were in the past This contradicts a misconception among the Orthodox that Jews of the past were always strict and religious than we are today Ray described how customs in a community had just as much power in communal ordinances than Halacha official Torah based Jewish law He even quoted a determination in a tax assessment case which said custom supersedes halakha Ray described how Jewish leaders also gained power by having a segregated contained and manageable Jewish community in which practical concerns were prominent than piety The Sephardic Frontier captured the life of Jews during the Christian Reconquest of Spain It did not have much description at all of Jewish life during Muslim rule which is when Medieval Jewish poetry flourished but that also was not really in the scope of the book I now have added context for the beauty of the second half of the Jewish poetic renaissance I also look forward to diving deeper into what made that time so rich and want to discover how Jews from that period conceived of their imagination and soul to create such beautiful poems


  2. says:

    Most studies of medieval Jews focus on Jewish Christian relations or follow a decline towards persecution and expulsion narrative Ray's mission is to focus on Jewish life for its own sake He discusses how Jewish communities thrived and suffered in the wake of the Christian conquest of Iberia Most importantly Ray takes us inside the communities themselves to show how they governed disagreed fought bitterly cooperated splintered took risks and worked oppressive systems to their advantage He's even able to show differences between religious scholars' legal decisions and the day to day actions of elite and common members of Jewish society


  3. says:

    Well researached but dry as a bone


  4. says:

    This is for all of you who like to read dissertations