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JEWISHST 14S: Conversion in Ancient and Medieval Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (HISTORY 14S)

In the third century, a group of Roman soldiers submerged themselves in baptismal waters in the Syrian desert and became Christians, a radical act. A thousand years later, the Jews of Spain were forced to do the same; in 1391, their mass forced baptisms sparked widespread panic. Traces of these historical events, and countless others like them, survive in texts, manuscripts and archeological remains, and prompt the following questions: how did people of the past judge the "authenticity" of a religious conversion? What was the relationship between religion, culture, ethnicity, and race? Was religion an internal conviction, or a cultural practice? This course will explore conversions, both willing and forced, in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Our exploration will focus on conversions among the three Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-EDP, WAY-SI
Instructors: Urbont, L. (PI)
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