A finalist for World Magazine’s Book of the Year!
“Essential reading.” Antonio Carreño, Brown University
“A watershed in scholarship.” Raphael Israeli, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“Desperately, desperately needed as a counter to the mythology that pervades academia on this subject.” Paul F. Crawford, California University of Pennsylvania
“An intelligent reinterpretation of a supposed paradise of convivencia.” Julia Pavón Benito, University of Navarra
“A splendid book . . . Must-reading.” Noël Valis, Yale University
“I am in awe of The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise.” FrontPage Magazine
“A bracing remedy to a good deal of the academic pabulum that passes for scholarship.” Middle East Quarterly
“An exhilarating and unput-downable read.” Standpoint
Scholars, journalists, and even politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain“al-Andalus”as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony.
There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: it is a myth.
In this groundbreaking book, Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden history by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed.
This supposed beacon of peaceful coexistence began, of course, with the Islamic Caliphate’s conquest of Spain. Far from a land of religious tolerance, Islamic Spain was marked by religious and therefore cultural repression in all areas of life and the marginalization of Christians and other groupsall this in the service of social control by autocratic rulers and a class of religious authorities.
The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise provides a desperately needed reassessment of medieval Spain. As professors, politicians, and pundits continue to celebrate Islamic Spain for its “multiculturalism” and “diversity,” Fernández-Morera sets the historical record straightshowing that a politically useful myth is a myth nonetheless.
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About the Author
Darío Fernández-Morera is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University. A former member of the National Council on the Humanities, he holds a BA from Stanford University, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from Harvard University. He has published several books and many articles on cultural, literary, historical, and methodological issues in Spain, Latin America, and the United States.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Conquest and Reconquest 19
Chapter 2 The Effects of the Jihad: The Destruction of a Nascent Civilization 57
Chapter 3 The Dailv Realities of al-Andalus 83
Chapter 4 The Myth of Umayyad Tolerance: Inquisitions, Beheadings, Impalings, and Crucifixions 119
Chapter 5 Women in Islamic Spain Female Circumcision, Stoning, Veils, and Sexual Slavery 139
Chapter 6 The Truth about the Jewish Community's "Golden Age" 177
Chapter 7 The Christian Condition: From Dhimmis to Extinction 205
Select Bibliography 337