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Love between Muslim and Jew

Love between Muslim and Jew

(p.35) [2] Love between Muslim and Jew
Neighboring Faiths
David Nirenberg
University of Chicago Press

Starting with disputes over interfaith adultery, conversion, and marriage, this chapter expands to a broader discussion of Muslim-Jewish relations in late medieval Iberia, exploring issues such as theoretical restrictions in Jewish and Muslim law and the reality of sexual interaction between these communities, tracing the development of the relationship between the two communities in Christian Spain through the lens of love. Before 1400, Muslim and Jewish communities appear to have been comparatively free to compete in love, mediated by Christian fiscal rather than spiritual interests, the outcome generally dependent on the relative economic and political power of the two communities. For a number of reasons, that balance of power initially favored Jewish access to Muslim women rather than vice versa. But by ca. 1450, the tables had turned dramatically, with Christian authorities strongly supporting Muslims over Jews. The changed possibilities for Muslim-Jewish love, conversion, and marriage were not primarily a product of a shift in the relative power of Muslims and Jews; they reflected changes in the role these two religious communities (and the theological categories they represented) played in the Christian theological imagination, and the increasing importance of these theological considerations in the Christian mediation of Jewish-Muslim relations.

Keywords:   Muslims, Jews, Spain, Mudéjar, converso, law, interfaith sexual relations, Muslim-Jewish relations, miscegenation

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