Alexandra Cuffel


From Accidental Knowledge to Explicit Study: The Role of Orality in Knowledge of the Religious Other in the Middle Ages

In this presentation I will discuss the various ways Jews, Christians and Muslims came to know of one another’s practices, liturgies, scriptures and extra-scriptural literature through various forms of oral transmission from the eleventh to the sixteenth century CE.  These forms included, for example, overhearing the chanting of liturgy, casual conversation with neighbors, colleagues or slaves, exchange of songs or spells of protection or healing, and explicit collaboration and translation between members of different religious communities.  These processes will be examined in both European and Middle Eastern contexts.