Muslims, Jews, Christians: they’ve been fighting for millennia and living next to each other for just as long. They share the same prophet—Abraham—and have many of the same beliefs. Yet, they define themselves in opposition to one another, demonizing and even killing each other along the way. Is this intrinsic to who they are or is this something that can be changed? Can they coexist or must they be enemies? These questions are the focus of this episode of Why? Radio.
David Nirenberg is Dean of the Division of Social Sciences; Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought, a Professor in the Department of History, and the Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago. Much of his work focuses on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by interrelating with or thinking about each other. He has written Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages; Neighboring Faiths:
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern, and Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition. His work on these three religious traditions ranges across literary, artistic, historiographic, and philosophical genres. But even more generally, he is interested in the history of how the possibilities and limits of community and communication have been imagined.
His website can be found here: http://www.davidnirenberg.com/