Crossing Boundaries in Late Medieval Mediterranean Iberia: Historical Glimpses of Christian- Islamic Intercultural Dialogue
I lluch, Roser Salicru (Institució Milà i Fontanals – c s i c, Spain)
International Journal of Euro-Mediterranean Studies, Vol.1:1 (2008)
Although many of the terms and concepts we use to define processes and phenomena in contemporary society can be applied to past situations, a mere mechanical transposition without any necessary contextualization, can easily lead to analytical and interpretative anachronisms. In late medieval Mediterranean Iberia, the internal connections between Christians and Muslims generated transverse figures who were able to cross religious and cultural boundaries in order to facilitate contacts and exchanges, and these people may also be considered as examples of historical intercultural dialogue. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, they approached the ‘Other’ for intellectual reasons and with true convictions or a predisposition to dialogue. They did it merely on a pragmatic level. Hence, inter- cultural contacts and the crossing of boundaries did not necessarily entail understanding or dialogue. However, these people represented the first step toward getting to know and being able to understand and accept the ‘Other’.