The Once and Future Classroom
Among the TEAMS-sponsored sessions at the last two year’s ICMS, a.k.a. K’zoo, there were two that considered the image the Old Testament figure Abraham and the city of Jerusalem (see descriptions below). The editors propose a special edition of The Once and Future Classroom focusing on the wider nexus containing these two topics. Most generally, how did Jews, Christians, and Moslems regard each other in the Middle Ages? They shared sacred scriptures, creation stories, prophets and loci, though it is not clear that there was much agreement or acknowledgement of their shared origins and common values.
The Once and Future Classroom publishes work of five general types: (1) reports on promising new classroom techniques, educational programs, curricula, and methods of evaluating instructional effectiveness; (2) accounts of recent trends in any fields of research related to Medieval Studies; (3) lesson plans; and (4) critical reviews of software, audiovisual materials, textbooks, and other secondary works suitable for classroom use — in particular, OFC seeks assessments of their scholarly reliability, formats, and effectiveness of presentation; and (5) annotated bibliographies in specific fields relevant to teachers of Medieval Studies.
For this special edition, the editors seek submissions of any of the above genres that focus as described above. Scholars from all disciplines are welcome to submit.
The deadline has been extended to June 30. We would prefer complete submissions but will review shorter proposals as well. Such proposals should be submitted asap.
Submissions should be emailed to
Wake Forest University,
Abraham’s Legacy: Jews, Christians, and Moslems in the Medieval Imagination
The Biblical figure of Abraham occupies a crucial nexus in the history of three of the world’s major religions. Though preceded by Adam and Noah, Abraham is the first Old Testament figure to specifically renounce polytheism, to be called by God, and to respond to God without reservation. Abraham is claimed as a prophet and forebear of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Today, Abraham is considered by some the key to bridging differences among these three faiths. But how was he viewed in the Middle Ages?
Abraham — husband, father, refugee, wanderer, warrior, leader — figured prominently in medieval art, literature, drama, and mysticism. Considered a model for resolute steadfastness by all three religions, he anchored religious and philosophical thinking. At a time when Jews, Christians and Moslems lived among or alongside each other with varying degrees of tolerance and respect – or hatred – how was this patriarch viewed? Today, Abraham is considered a key to bridging differences among these three faiths. How, then, does he figure in teaching students about a Middle Ages that is not solidly white, European and Christian?
Teaching Medieval Jerusalem: The City of Seventy Names and Even More Approaches
“Jerusalem was … as much an idea as a locale.” Medieval Jerusalem was the locus of pilgrimages (real and imagined), crusades, and commerce. Already considered holy by the world’s 3 major religions, it was the center of medieval Christian cosmography, the 12-gated city also having its celestial counterpart. Jews prayed to return there. Moslems controlled it for long periods. The multiple rulers of the actual city presided over ebbs and flows of political, religious and secular dominance; tolerance and diversity; and bigotry and violence. The city was a part of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and various Caliphates, and Jews were resident on and off under varying degrees of subjugation. Jerusalem was unsurprisingly the object of religious and secular literature and art. Its architecture showed the influence of its various residents and rulers. It was mapped, charted, memorialized, reimagined and reinvented. And for faculty, it is a huge presence even more interesting now as medievalists widen our focus to include areas outside of Europe and people who were not white.
This panel seeks speakers on all aspects of teaching about Jerusalem in the Middle Ages for an interdisciplinary panel discussion. Cartographers, archeologists, literati, musicologists, numismatists, art historians, military historians, historians of science or religion, and anyone else interested in this fascinating city are welcome to submit.
See, inter alia, Bruce Feiler, Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths 2002.
From a review of “Jerusalem, 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven,” at the Metropolitan Museum by Peter Schjeldahl, “The Passions of Medieval Jerusalem,” The New Yorker, September 26, 2016. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/03/the-passions-of-medieval-jerusalem.