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Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic by Ryan Szpiech (review)

Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic by Ryan Szpiech... reviews j 251 Ultimately, this is a book that successfully pushes the boundaries of the field of Hispanic Studies just as it sustains a nurturing relationship with canonical authors. benjamin fraser The College of Charleston szpiech, ryan. Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2013. xi  311 pp. In this study, Ryan Szpiech shows how various medieval authors (many of them Iberian) avoid or reify inherited models of conversion and conversion narratives to meet their needs as polemicists. Szpiech chooses from the large corpus of available material those conversion narratives associated with ‘‘explicitly polemical and interconfessional apologetic writing’’—beginning with Augustine, but focusing on the medieval Mediterranean world of Muslims, Jews, and Christians and how the latter either legitimate or discredit accepted authoritative knowledge and dis- courses. Szpiech’s comparative approach, which seeks patterns of similarity and of methodology across time and religion, proves fruitful and offers a portrait of polemical literature, often authored by converts, and of the changing and develop- ing role of narrative within it. Each of the six chapters presents case studies of converts, and illustrates how their conversion narratives have been shaped to establish the authenticity of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hispanic Review University of Pennsylvania Press

Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic by Ryan Szpiech (review)

Hispanic Review , Volume 82 (2) – May 6, 2014

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Pennsylvania Press.
ISSN
1553-0639

Abstract

reviews j 251 Ultimately, this is a book that successfully pushes the boundaries of the field of Hispanic Studies just as it sustains a nurturing relationship with canonical authors. benjamin fraser The College of Charleston szpiech, ryan. Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2013. xi  311 pp. In this study, Ryan Szpiech shows how various medieval authors (many of them Iberian) avoid or reify inherited models of conversion and conversion narratives to meet their needs as polemicists. Szpiech chooses from the large corpus of available material those conversion narratives associated with ‘‘explicitly polemical and interconfessional apologetic writing’’—beginning with Augustine, but focusing on the medieval Mediterranean world of Muslims, Jews, and Christians and how the latter either legitimate or discredit accepted authoritative knowledge and dis- courses. Szpiech’s comparative approach, which seeks patterns of similarity and of methodology across time and religion, proves fruitful and offers a portrait of polemical literature, often authored by converts, and of the changing and develop- ing role of narrative within it. Each of the six chapters presents case studies of converts, and illustrates how their conversion narratives have been shaped to establish the authenticity of

Journal

Hispanic ReviewUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 6, 2014

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