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Creating Christian Granada Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City, 1492-1600 by David Coleman

Creating Christian Granada Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City, 1492-1600


Creating Christian Granada Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City, 1492-1600 by David Coleman

Creating Christian Granada provides a richly detailed examination of a critical and transitional episode in Spain's march to global empire. The city of Granada-Islam's final bastion on the Iberian peninsula-surrendered to the control of Spain's Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand on January 2, 1492. Over the following century, Spanish state and Church officials, along with tens of thousands of Christian immigrant settlers, transformed the formerly Muslim city into a Christian one. With constant attention to situating the Granada case in the broader comparative contexts of the medieval reconquista tradition on the one hand and sixteenth-century Spanish imperialism in the Americas on the other, Coleman carefully charts the changes in the conquered city's social, political, religious, and physical landscapes. In the process, he sheds light on the local factors contributing to the emergence of tensions between the conquerors and Granada's formerly Muslim, native morisco community in the decades leading up to the crown-mandated expulsion of most of the city's moriscos in 1569-1570. Despite the failure to assimilate the moriscos, Granada's status as a frontier Christian community under construction fostered among much of the immigrant community innovative religious reform ideas and programs that shaped in direct ways a variety of church-wide reform movements in the era of the ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563). Coleman concludes that the process by which reforms of largely Granadan origin contributed significantly to transformations in the Church as a whole forces a reconsideration of traditional top-down conceptions of sixteenth-century Catholic reform.


Creating Christian Granada addresses an important and intriguing question for the history of late medieval/early modern Spain: how the once Muslim city of Granada was transformed into a Catholic city. David Coleman answers the question with finesse and sensitivity. The book is based on extensive and groundbreaking archival research and brings much new and exciting material to light. -Mark Meyerson, University of Toronto With impeccable scholarship and a riveting narrative, David Coleman uncovers the untold story of how and to what ends Granada's native Muslim population converted to Christianity and became energetic and innovative creators of the local Christian culture that would eventually influence the language of Catholic reforms at the Council of Trent. This book is necessary reading for all who care about how Spain, the medieval kingdom of 'the three religions,
became a land of only one repressive and militant faith

. -Helen Nader, University of Arizona Granada's conquest by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 symbolically marked the end of Muslim Spain. Creating Christian Granada is an important book about the process of fashioning a new Spain in accordance with Christian ideals. David Coleman's chapters on the laity's role in the creation of Granada's new religious institutions are especially insightful. Of particular value also is his account of Juan de Dios, a Granadan divine who became one of the most respected and influential religious reformers in sixteenth-century Spain. Richly documented yet readable, Creating Christian Granada is a must for anyone interested in the religion and society of early modern Spain. -Richard L. Kagan, The Johns Hopkins University David Coleman seeks to bridge the gap between local and institutional history in his study of the transformation of the Spanish city of Granada in the century after its conquest by Isabella and Ferdinand on January 2, 1492, by asking when and how Granada became a Christian city. To answer these questions, Coleman takes his readers on a far-flung trip that begins and ends at Granada but in the meantime takes us all over the Iberian Peninsula and as far as the Council of Trent. . . . By suggesting that Granada is a case study for understanding the emergence of empire, Spain's treatment of religious minorities, and the development of the sixteenth-century church, Coleman opens his book up to a wide range of readers. . . . Students of European expansion into the Americas will find the case of Granada interesting as a possible prototype of colonial expansion. -Lucy K. Pick, Journal of Modern History (September 2005) David Coleman's richly detailed book takes the conquest of Granada in 1492 not as the culmination of a military campaign, but instead as the first step in the century-long Christianization of an ethnically diverse and socially dynamic Spanish city. . . . It is to Coleman's credit that this valuable book captures the city's unique frontier atmosphere at the same time that it illuminates Granada's role in the wider Catholic Reformation. -David Carrico Wood, Sixteenth Century Journal In this thoughtful and much-needed history, David Coleman examines the recreation of the former Nasrid capital of Granada as a newly Castilian, newly Christian city on Spain's southern frontier. In the process, he demonstrates the necessarily interrelated nature of Granada's status on the one hand as a newly repopulated city with a long list of institutional challenges, cultural conflicts, and religious innovation, and on the other hand as an incubator of some of the most influential religious figures in Iberia in the sixteenth century. . . . This readable book takes the history of Granada as its standpoint, from which to address much larger questions about the nature of religious, social, and political identity in sixteenth-century Spain. The result is an important contribution to the historiography of Old Christian-morisco relations, of early modern Spain, and of Catholic Reform in the sixteenth century. -Gretchen Starr-LeBeau, Renaissance Quarterly Coleman's book is. . .an excellent study of the dynamics of social and religious change in a city that not only rested at the real frontier between Christendom and Islam, but that he rightly locates at the conceptual frontier where the key themes of late medieval and early modern Spain intersect. -Thomas E. Burman, University of Tennessee, American Historical Review, December 2004 This book invites us to look afresh at the relationship between church and society, a relationship that excelled as a formative, dynamic one. -Helen Rawlings, European History Quarterly There is much to praise in this book: its amenable style, its rich documentation (much of it unused before), its fascinating story-line, its lively pageant of individuals from the Jewish convert Juan de la Torre, who made a fortune in the silk trade which allowed him to become lord of a nearby village and to purchase a seat on Granada's municipal council for his son, to another judeoconverso Juan de Avila, who was the principal figure in the reform movement that would shape the future of the Catholic Church in Europe, to Granada's first saint Joao Cidade, who through his acts of charity and the founding of hospitals for the poor would become San Juan de Dios. -Trevor J. Dadson, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations (January 2005)

About the Author

David Coleman is Professor of History at Eastern Kentucky University.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th February 2013


David Coleman

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Cornell University Press


272 pages


European history
History of religion



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