Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in by Ryan Szpiech

By Ryan Szpiech

In 1322, a Jewish health professional named Abner entered a synagogue within the Castilian urban of Burgos and commenced to weep in prayer. Falling asleep, he dreamed of a "great guy" who steered him to evoke from his shut eye. presently thereafter, he switched over to Christianity and wrote a few works attacking his outdated religion. Abner tells the tale in very good aspect within the beginning to his Hebrew-language yet anti-Jewish polemical treatise, Teacher of Righteousness.

In the religiously plural context of the medieval Western Mediterranean, spiritual conversion performed a big function as a marker of social barriers and person id. The writers of medieval non secular polemics resembling Teacher of Righteousness usually begun through giving a quick, first-person account of the rejection in their outdated religion and their include of the recent. In such money owed, Ryan Szpiech argues, the narrative shape performs a big position in dramatizing the transition from infidelity to faith.

Szpiech attracts on a large physique of resources from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim polemics to enquire where of narrative within the illustration of conversion. creating a company contrast among tales advised approximately conversion and the adventure of spiritual swap, his publication isn't really a background of conversion itself yet a comparative examine of the way and why it was once awarded in narrative shape in the context of non secular disputation. He argues that among the 12th and 15th centuries, conversion narratives have been had to symbolize communal notions of historical past and authority in allegorical, dramatic phrases. After contemplating the overdue old paradigms on which medieval Christian conversion narratives have been established, Szpiech juxtaposes Christian tales with modern money owed of conversion to Islam and Judaism. He emphasizes that polemical clash among Abrahamic religions within the medieval Mediterranean based on competing visions of heritage and salvation. through seeing conversion now not as anyone adventure yet as a public narrative, Conversion and Narrative offers a brand new, interdisciplinary viewpoint on medieval writing approximately spiritual disputes.

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