The idea of medieval Spain as a place of coexistence of the so-called religions of the book - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - has endured to the present day, becoming a powerful symbol of the country's history beyond its borders. The persistence of this image is demonstrated by the vitality of the debate on the possible myths and stereotypes surrounding the very concept of coexistence and the proliferation of research and articles that attempt to draw a more accurate approximation to the historical course of events. Beyond the unquestionable interest of this debate, the heritage, architectural, cultural and linguistic reality of present-day Spain is undoubtedly the clearest proof of the depth of the imprint of Islamic and Jewish cultures in our country.
However, knowledge of the legacy of these cultures often does not reach beyond the academic spheres of universities, despite society's growing interest in learning about and delving deeper into this field. Proof of this is the good reception of the series on 'The arts of Islamic Spain. Legacy, transcendence, current affairs', which the Three Cultures Foundation organised during the first half of 2021 with the aim of bringing the variety and richness of Andalusian heritage, as well as the latest discoveries and debates on the subject, to a wide audience.
Guided by the positive response to this initiative and with the aim of continuing our work in the field of disseminating our historical past, Three Cultures is dedicating the first semester of the Chair al-Andalus in the new year to the series 'The Jewish legacy in Spanish culture'. Although it is not possible to date the origins of the presence of the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula by means of archaeological or documentary remains, scholars place it even some centuries before the Christian era, although it was not until the establishment of al-Andalus and, especially, during the 12th and 13th centuries, when what has been defined as the zenith of Jewish cultural production in many areas was reached, with the appearance of figures such as Solomon Ibn Gabirol or Hasday ibn Shaprut, considered classics in the entire Jewish world. The contribution of the great Jewish intellectuals and authors who lived in al-Andalus and in the later Christian kingdoms had an important impact both on Western European culture and on the rest of the Mediterranean.
The series 'The Jewish legacy in Spanish culture' will cover different aspects of the Jewish imprint in our country, from the material heritage preserved in our museums to artistic and literary creation, as well as the contributions of Hispano-Jewish and Sephardic culture to science, philosophy and customs. Finally, the Sephardic cultural heritage in the Maghreb and Europe will be analysed.
The series is aimed at a general audience, as well as a specialised public, in order to serve as an introduction to a little-known field or as a starting point for a more in-depth study.
The series is made up of six lectures given by some of the most prestigious specialists in Spanish-Jewish and Sephardic culture in our country. The last session of the cycle under the title 'The collections of the Sephardic Museum of Toledo', will take place on Thursday 29th September 2022 at 19.00 h. and will be given by Carmen Álvarez Nogales, director of the Sephardic Museum of Toledo.