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Shared IdentitiesMedieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam$
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Aaron Hughes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190684464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190684464.001.0001

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Et in Arcadia Ego

Et in Arcadia Ego

(p.104) 5 Et in Arcadia Ego
Shared Identities

Aaron W. Hughes

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 deals with the overused trope of “golden age” as applied to al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). The chapter examines the uses and the work to which this trope has and continues to be put. It builds on the idea of the extracurricular need to establish a “golden age” to talk romantically about a past that will hopefully be future again. Now, however, the focus is on how “reason” played an integral part in this relationship. It begins by showing how and why nineteenth-century German-Jewish scholars created the trope of the “golden age” of Muslim Spain and how their construction has now largely become the truth. Just as nineteenth-century German scholars looked to the Orient as the place of intellectual repose, German-Jewish scholars did something similar when it came to Muslim Spain. The locus of al-Andalus thus functioned as a utopia, the mirror inverse of their dystopian present.

Keywords:   golden age, Muslim Spain, nostalgia, Heinrich Graetz, rationalism, Gershom Scholem, al-Andalus

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