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Publisher's Summary

Widely hailed as a revelation of a "lost" golden age, this history brings to vivid life the rich and thriving culture of medieval Spain, where, for more than seven centuries, Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in an atmosphere of tolerance, and literature, science, and the arts flourished.

©2002 María Rosa Menocal (P)2017 Tantor

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What listeners say about The Ornament of the World

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book

Excellent book that reinforces my conviction that people of all faiths should have extraordinary tolerance for others to create and maintain superior societies.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Refreshing, realistic, reflective

Beautifying written &
Painfully realistic
Mandates one to ponder over if the fate of multi-religious America & the world.

2 people found this helpful

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Ludicrously ahistorical

This book is a post modern exercise in reimagining the past of a minority culture to be something completely other than what it was, almost in entirety. The Myth of Andalusian Paradise completely takes it apart. You don’t even need to read that if you have a cursory knowledge of the genocidal massacres, de jure religious discrimination and the hardening of all three major religions that occurred in Andalusian Spain. I honestly almost gave this more stars as a comedy, but that would be wrong because this purports to accurately portray history, and it doesn’t. Absolutely shameful entry.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Revisionist at best

To base one’s understanding of such a conflicted and extended period of time on one account is imprudent and bound to be error filled. William Chester Jordan writes of this romanticized version of history, “Recently this picture has been criticized as idealized or even as a more or less deliberate distortion imposed on the narrative of pre-Reconquest Spanish history by liberal and anti-clerical scholars writing in the modern period.” That there was less violence in this “convivencia” than in later times is true but the romanticized version of an “Iberian summer of love” where Muslims tolerated Christians and Jews while at the same time treating them as second class citizens is incongruous. That Latin was not as sexy as Arabic and abandoned may be problematic. I doubt that the vernacular was used in the Mozarabic Rite. All the examples I have seen are in Latin. That the Roman Rite took precedence over the Mozarabic Rite was the goal since the time of Charlemagne. The words of institution were changed in the Mozarabic Rite to conform with the Roman Rite which could only make sense if the liturgy were in Latin. Secondly, the author mentions El Cantar del Mio Cid which is a vernacular epopeya but fails to mention the Carmen Campidoctoris which has been dated to 1083 during the lifetime of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (by the way, did the author say he was born in Medinaceli? And not Vivar?). The Carmen was in Latin not vernacular. A couple of chinks in the armor.
The reader could have taken the time to learn to pronounce words properly with the appropriate stresses on the correct syllables. It is jarring to the ears.

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Needs to be rewritten

The book contains good historical information. However it needs to be streamed and reorganised based on historical time with clear objectives. As is it hard to fellow.

1 person found this helpful

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Important lessons for today on tolerance and intolerance

Import topic for today. As I finish The Ornament of the World and sit down to Immediately reread it I must admit that I found the story difficult to follow. Perhaps due to the dense topic, perhaps the writing style. Worth the read and reread though

2 people found this helpful