Chapter

Muslims

in The Unconverted Self

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226069197
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226069142 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226069142.003.0003
Muslims

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The emergence of Christian Europe coincided to a large extent with the rise of the new and aggressively expansive Islam and was an overt response to that expansion. The struggle against Islam provided a crucial template for Christian missionary warfare, in New Spain and beyond, long before Christopher Columbus set his sights on sailing through the Indian Ocean to retake Jerusalem from the east. The closely linked justification of crusade and mission was central to the later rationalization of Spanish Catholic conquest in the New World. Yet the militant recovery of Spanish territory from the Muslims became understood only in retrospect as a unified process known as the Reconquista. The so-called Muslim question disrupted what otherwise would have been a neat dichotomy between two defining boundaries of the self in Christian Europe: Jews, both “anterior” to Christendom and internal to it, and Indians, encountered both outside Christendom and after it. This chapter examines the confrontation between the ideological edifice of Christian community on one hand and imaginary Muslims as well as Muslim power on the other.

Keywords: Christian Europe; Islam; New Spain; crusade; mission; Reconquista; Muslims; Jews; Indians; Christendom

Chapter.  7583 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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