The Ornament of the World

How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

Recommended by David Marquand, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #26 in Spain, Ranked #31 in Islamic Historysee more rankings.

Undoing the familiar notion of the Middle Ages as a period of religious persecution and intellectual stagnation, María Menocal now brings us a portrait of a medieval culture where literature, science, and tolerance flourished for 500 years.The story begins as a young prince in exile—the last heir to an Islamic dynasty—founds a new kingdom on the Iberian peninsula: al-Andalus. Combining the best of what Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures had to offer, al-Andalus and its successors influenced the rest of Europe in dramatic ways, from the death of liturgical Latin and the spread of secular... more

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David Marquand This had a huge influence on me when I was researching my latest book. I think the biggest threat to the values of pluralist democracy in present day Europe is Islamophobia. There is a very serious danger that this will be to the 21st century what anti-semitism was to the last century. I don’t think it has done so yet, but it could. I found the Rosa Menocal book quite inspiring because of what it showed about the possibility of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish civilisations living together. They managed to co-exist peacefully and to learn from each other in the period that we think of as the... (Source)

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