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Mercedes García-Arenal

Mercedes García-Arenal

Mercedes García-Arenal

Abstract

This article deals, in the first place, with the religious identity of the Arabic language as defined by the ongoing debate, in 16th-17th century Spain, about its identification with Islam. Many new Christians of Muslim origin (Moriscos) tried to break this identification in an effort to salvage part of their culture, and specially the language, by separating it from Islam. I will argue that the Morisco forgery known as the Lead Books of the Sacromonte in Granada—an Arabic Evangile dictated by the Virgin Mary to Arabic disciples who came to Spain with the Apostle Saint James—was part of this effort. When the Lead Books were taken to the Vatican to be informed, they were studied by Maronite scholars who decided that they were written in “Muslim Arabic” and therefore could not be authentic Christian texts. The Maronites were engaged in creating and consolidating their own version of Christian Arabic to define and legitimise their own position inside the Roman world. The second part of the essay adresses the theological considerations and the defence of different cultural identities which are implied in these different versions of Arabic.

Mercedes García Bachmann

Abstract

In conversation with a proposal that the book of Jonah was written as a reaction to the two apparently contradictory wisdom sayings of Proverbs 13:21 and Psalm 25:8, this paper reviews the book of Jonah in light of the two maxims from a Latin American perspective. Noting the element of surprise throughout the book, the author gives a contextual interpretation to the change of Jonah's appearance from dove (a passive character) to wolf (an enraged character) willing to die rather than witness God's mercy. As a missionary concern, the author parallels the anger of "Christian continent" (Latin America) against God's mercy for "outsiders" and the continent's self-righteousness with Jonah's enraged character. The self-righteousness is so strong that churches and congregations would rather die than open God's grace to others (Jonah 4). The paper concludes by stating that gender studies have alerted us to the danger of employing either/or (rather than both/and) and hierarchical (rather than egalitarian) categories and interpretations that do not leave sufficient space for diversity, both in the biblical text and in congregational life today.

After Conversion

Iberia and the Emergence of Modernity

Series:

Edited by Mercedes García-Arenal

This book examines the religious and ideological consequences of mass conversion in Iberia, where Jews and Muslims were forcibly converted or expelled at the end of the XVth century and beginning of the XVIth, and in this way it explores the fraught relationship between origins and faith. It treats also of the consequences of coercion on intellectual debates and the production of knowledge, taking into account how integrating new converts from Judaism and Islam stimulated Christian scholars to confront the converts’ sacred texts and created a distinctive peninsular hermeneutics. The book thus assesses the importance of the “Converso problem” in issues such as religious dissidence, dissimulation, and doubt and skepticism while establishing the process by which religious dissidence came to be categorized as heresy and was identified with converts from Judaism and Islam even when Lutheranism was often in the background.

Series:

Edited by Mercedes García-Arenal

Series:

Mercedes García-Arenal