Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Marjorie E. Ratcliffe


This dissertation develops a critical study based on identity theory, intergroup relations, and social discourse of the cultural symbiosis forged between the three religious communities of the Medieval Iberian Peninsula - Christians, Jews and Muslims - as reflected in four books written during this period, from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. In the case of Medieval Iberian literature, Semitic culture and traditions were absorbed along with Christian traditions in the development of a future Spanish identity that was reflected in the literary framework. Through this analysis and this theoretical framework it was possible to determine how intergroup contact affected the relations between these communities, the different levels of interactions, and their impact on literary discourse. The study is divided in two parts: the first one presents an analysis of the term convivencia coined by historian Américo Castro, his contributions to this topic, as well as those made by his followers and his opposition. The second part consists of three chapters and illustrates the cultural interaction that emerged during the convivencia period as portrayed in four selected literary works. The first chapter discusses the linguistic and literary syncretism in the poetical corpus by the Hispano-Muslim poet Ibn Quzmān (Cordova 1078-1170); chapter two explores the religious Anti-Judaism versus Anti-Semitism views of European literature and its impact in the Iberian literary sphere, as well Christian attitudes toward the Iberian Jewry in Miracles of Our Lady by friar Gonzalo de Berceo (1225-1264); and chapter three compares the thematic techniques, didactic purpose and literary influences in the books Count Lucanor by the Christian noble Don Juan Manuel (1282-1348) and Moral Proverbs by Rabbi Shem Tov of Carrión (1295- 1369).