Of Prophets and Saints: Literary Traditions and “convivencia” in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia

The international workshop was held in Madrid on Thursday and Friday, February 22 and 23, 2018, and explored religious literature that originated under the particular conditions of “convivencia” in the societies of medieval and early modern Iberia.  The participants drew on comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to open new perspectives on how the coexistence of Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities on the Iberian Peninsula is reflected in their respective literary traditions.  The focus was on works concerning prophets and saints.  For more information about the workshop’s rationale, please see this blog post.

The workshop was open to the public, with the exception of a show & tell on Thursday afternoon.  Since seating was limited, a RSVP to mashqi.workshop [at] gmail.com had been requested by Monday, February 19, 2018.  Admission was first come, first served at the door; no seats were held.

Benito Rial Costas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Dagmar Anne Riedel (ILC-CSIC & Columbia University)

Workshop Secretary
Alicia López Carral (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
mashqi.workshop [at] gmail.com

Abstracts, in the alphabetical order of the participants’ names, are available here.

22 February  2018, Biblioteca Histórica “Marqués de Valdecilla” (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)


Welcome by Marta Torres Santo Domingo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

PANEL 1:  Historiographical Challenges of “convivencia”

CHAIR & DISCUSSANT: Alejandro García Sanjuán (Universidad de Huelva)
Maribel Fierro (ILC-CSIC): Prophecy and “convivencia”: The View from the Arabic-Muslim Sources
Jesús R. Velasco (Columbia University): The Productivity of Perplexity
Javier Castaño (ILC-CSIC): Harbinger of Doom? Jews, Prophecy, and its Uses in Late Medieval Sefarad

12.00-14.00    PANEL 2:  Concepts of Sanctity & Prophecy

CHAIR: Amir Hussain (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles)
Lucia Raspe (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main & Jüdisches Museum Berlin): Jewish Saints in Medieval Europe: The View from Ashkenaz
Elizabeth Evenden-Kenyon (University of Oxford): Iberian Saints, Prophecy and “convivencia”: The View from Early Modern England
Manuela Ceballos (University of Tennessee, Knoxville): Relics and Bodies of Saints: Corporeality and Sainthood in Early Modern Spain
Araceli González Vázquez (IMF-CSIC): “As Numerous as the Stars in the Mountains of Ghomara’s Sky”: Visions, Sharifianism, and Contemporary Local Understandings of Sainthood in Northern Morocco

*16.00-18.00   Show & Tell in the library’s reading room restricted to the participants  not open to the public!

23 February 2018, Casa Árabe


Welcome by Pedro Martínez-Avial (Casa Árabe)
Welcome by María Ángeles Gallego (ILC-CSIC)

PANEL 3:  Literature about and by Saints and Prophets 

CHAIR: Javier Castaño (ILC-CSIC)
Racheli Haliva (Universität Hamburg): Sources of Knowledge: Prophecy and Philosophy in Jewish Spanish Averroism—Isaac Albalag and Isaac Polqar
Fabrizio Lelli (Università del Salento, Lecce): Elijah Hayyim of Genazzano and Isaac Abravanel on Prophecy: Italian vs. Iberian Interpretations of Divine Knowledge at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century
Claude B. Stuzcyinski (Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan): The Prophecies of Bandarra: Father Antonio Vieira and the Final Conversion of the Jews and the Conversos

CHAIR: Jesús R. Velasco (Columbia University)
Fernando Baños (Universidad de Alicante): The Moor and Evil in Medieval Castilian Hagiography
Benito Rial Costas and Fermín de los Reyes Gómez (both of Universidad Complutense de Madrid): Some Remarks on the First Spanish Edition of Flos sanctorum (c.1472-75)
Carole Slade (Columbia University): Standards of Saintliness for Teresa de Jesús

CHAIR: Patrick Ryan, S.J. (Fordham University)
Ruggero Vimercati Sanseverino (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen): Prophetology as a Strategy of Sunnī Revival: Al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ’s Kitāb al-shifāʾ in Context
Nuria Martínez de Castilla (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres): The Prophet and the Grapefruits

15.30-17.30    PANEL 4:  Diachronic Case Study of the Reception of the Kitāb al-shifāʾ bi-taʿrīf huqūq al-Muṣṭafā by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (1083-1149)

CHAIR: Maribel Fierro (ILC-CSIC)
Matthew Anderson (Georgetown University): The Reception of the Kitāb al-shifāʾ within Mamlūk Blasphemy Literature
Patrick Ryan, S.J. (Fordham University): The Ghost of al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ: Almoravid Rigorism and its Survival in West Africa
Dagmar Anne Riedel (ILC-CSIC & Columbia University): The Popularity of the Kitāb al-shifāʾ in the Ottoman Lands
Amir Hussain (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles): Reading al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ’s Kitāb al-shifāʾ in the Contemporary United States

17.45-19.00    PANEL 5:  Concluding Roundtable

Last updated on 2 March 2018


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 706611.





















The workshop is sponsored by the Columbia University Seminar on Religion and Writing.







The workshop has received a SHARP seed grant.




The page’s banner is taken from an early modern plate in the collection of The Hispanic Society of America that shows how Jonah in a boat is ruddering towards the whale.

Plate with Jonah and the whale

Tin-glazed earthenware, diameter 41 cm
Talavera de la Reina, Toledo, c.1600
USA, New York City, The Hispanic Society of America, LE2407
Acquired in 2015 from the L. Codosero Galería de Arte Antiguo, Madrid, Spain
Published in: Mitchell A. Codding (ed.), Tesoros de la Hispanic Society of America: Visiones del mundo hispánico, Madrid: Prado, 2017, pp. 214-215 s.v. no. 95

Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York