Lecture by David Nirenberg (University of Chicago). Medieval Matters is a series of public lectures co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies, the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Office for Religious Life, and the community group The Sarum Seminar. It explores the relevance of medieval history and culture to understanding the modern world. Free and open to the public. For more information, click here.
The long history of multi-religious communities in Europe has revealed a great deal about the significance of social contact and lived experience for shaping identity and perception. The various religious cultures conceived differently while being part of the same larger geographical space in earlier centuries. Detailed investigations reveal the nuanced and complex treatment of minorities by the Christian majority in late medieval Spain, showing especially how violence serves to formalize, maintain, and even reaffirm power imbalances.
In his brilliant and widely praised book, AntiJudaism: The Western Tradition, David Nirenberg has convincingly demonstrated how crucial Judaism has been to the formulation of Western thought and society broadly, partly by promulgating ideas that perpetuate a hatred and suspicion of Judaism. In this lecture, Nirenberg will discuss his latest book, Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern, which raises critically important insights into the complicated interdependence of the three religions—the conversations, conversions, vitality, and violence involved in their long histories.
David Nirenberg is Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Social Thought and Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. He specializes in an interdisciplinary approach to religious history, focusing particularly on the complex interrelationships of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. He received a PhD from Princeton.