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David Nirenberg is the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Social Thought, Medieval History, Middle East Studies, and the College; Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (2012-14); and the Dean of the Social Sciences Division. Nirenberg focuses his scholarship on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by inter-relating with or thinking about each other. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (1996) studies social interaction between the three groups within the context of Spain and France in order to understand the role of violence in shaping the possibilities for coexistence. His more recent work takes a more hermeneutical approach, exploring the work that “Judaism,” “Christianity,” and “Islam” do as figures in each other’s thought about the nature of language and the world. One product of that approach, focused on art history, was (jointly with Herb Kessler) Judaism and Christian Art: Aesthetic Anxieties from the Catacombs to Colonialism (2011). In Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (2013), Nirenberg applies the methodology to a very longue durée, studying the work done by pagan, Christian, Muslim, and secular thinking about Jews and Judaism in the history of ideas. Most recently, in Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern, he has attempted to bring the social into conversation with the hermeneutic, in order to show how, in multi-religious societies (with focus on Spain), lived experiences of inter-religious contact interact with conceptual categories and habits of thought, and how this interaction shapes how adherents of all three religions perceive themselves and each other.

Email: nirenberg@uchicago.edu
Webpage

Past Courses

ARTH 46309. Secularization and Resacralization. Taught with Ralph Ubl. Autumn 2009

HIST 55001/75001. Christian Politics in Medieval & Early Modern Europe – I. Taught with Constantin Fasolt. Autumn 2010.

HIST 75002. Christian Politics in Medieval & Early Modern Europe – II. Taught with Constantin Fasolt. Winter 2011.

SCTH 37101. Love in Late Medieval Spanish Letters: Libro de Buen Amor and Celestina. Taught with Ryan Giles. Spring 2011.

SCTH 37103. Love, Law and Exile: The Philosopher & Society in Medieval Islam. Spring 2013.

SCTH 37104. Kings, Culture, and the Three Religions of Medieval Spain. Autumn 2013.

SCTH 37105. Augustine, The City of God. Taught with Clifford Ando. Winter 2014.

SCTH 45402. Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Late Medieval Spain. Autumn 2011.

SCTH 50700. Racial Theories of Religious Differences. Spring 2008.

SCTH 50701. Shakespeare’s Venetian Others. Spring 2012.

SOCS 21300. Western Mediterranean Civ – I. Winter 2010, Winter 2013.

SOCS 21400. Western Mediterranean Civ – II. Winter 2012.

SOCS 24600. Vienna in Western Civilization – I. Autumn 2010.

SOCS 28851. Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Civilizations. Spring 2009

THEO 45401. A Scandal for Gentiles and Jews. Taught with Willemien Otten. Autumn 2009