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POLEMICAL VARIETIES: RELIGIOUS DISPUTATIONS IN 13TH CENTURY SPAIN

POLEMICAL VARIETIES: RELIGIOUS DISPUTATIONS IN 13TH CENTURY SPAIN

Limor, Ora (The Open University of Israel)

Iberia Judaica II (2010)

Abstract

In recent decades, various typologies have been suggested to classify inter-faith polemics. The first and best known was proposed by Amos Funkenstein in 1968. Funkenstein divided Christian polemical literature into four basic patterns: the older pattern of polemics —a stereotypical repetition of biblical arguments for the truth of Christianity; rationalistic polemics— attempting a deduction of the Christian dogma and a demonstration of its philosophical superiority; the attack against the Talmud, or, to be precise, against the whole corpus of post biblical Jewish literature; and polemics based on the Talmud, in an attempt to demonstrate the veracity of Christianity on the basis of Jewish postlbiblical literature. More recently, Jeremy Cohen formulated guidelines for a parallel typology from the Jewish standpoint, based on four categories that classify polemics on functional grounds. Funkenstein’s proposal, which has gained acceptance in the scholarly world, classifies polemics according to the literature upon which the disputants rely and with which they contend —the Bible, postlbiblical literature, philosophical proofs.

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