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Tolerance and cultural fusion

Primary Source
Constable, Olivia Remie, Medieval Iberia, Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (Philadelphia, 1997), 58, A Mudejar Summary of Islamic Law, pp. 325-327.
Pact of Umar (7th century), available at

Core readings
Bejczy, I., 'Tolerantia: A Medieval Concept', Journal of the History of Ideas 58 (1997), 365-84.
Friedmann, Yohanan, Tolerance and coercion in Islam : interfaith relations in the Muslim tradition, Introduction (Cambridge, 2003).

Dadson, Trevor J., Tolerance and coexistence in early modern Spain : old Christians and Moriscos in the Campo de Calatrava esp. introduction again (Suffolk, 2014).
Kimmel, Seth, Parables of Coercion: Conversion and Knowledge at the End of Islamic Spain (Chicago, 2015), Chapter 1, ‘Legible Conversions’, pp. 17-42.

Kamen, H., Toleration and the Law in the West, 1500 - 1700, Ratio Juris., Vol. 10, No 1(1997), 36-64.

Also recommended: Fernández-Morera, Darío, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain (Wilmington, 2016), Chapter 4, ‘The Myth of Umayyad Tolerance, pp. 119-138.

Further Reading

Rosa, M, The Ornament of the world: how Muslims, Jews and Christians created a culture of tolerance in medieval Spain (Boston, 2002).

A. Tyler, Islam, the West, and Tolerance: Conceiving Coexistence (Palgrave, 2008)

Key Questions

  • What is 'tolerance'?
  • Where does the concept of tolerance come from?
  • How useful is the concept of tolerance for explaining interfaith relations in the Iberian World?
  • What makes a tolerant society?
  • How was cultural difference managed on the Iberian Peninsula?
  • How important was assimilation to Iberian society?
  • What were the methods and what were the limitations of assimilation?
  • Did Islam and Christianity have similar concepts of tolerance?

Historiographical theme: intellectual history