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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1003: Cross-Cultural Gestures between Christians, Muslims, and Jews

Wednesday 12 July 2006, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Eva Frojmovic, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1003-aGestures of Conciliation: Non-Verbal Peacemaking Endeavors in the Latin East
(Language: English)
Yvonne Friedman, Department of Eretz-Israel Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan
Index terms: Art History - General, Crusades, Daily Life, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Other
Paper 1003-bLa sujétion juive à travers les gestes de la vie quotidienne dans l'espace aragonais
(Language: Français)
Claire Soussen Max, Université de Versailles - Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
Index terms: Daily Life, Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Abstract paper -a: Although both medieval Muslims and Christians believed in principle that the encounter between them ought to be restricted to Holy War, there were in fact many interludes of peace during the crusader period. The evidence for these encounters and agreements includes literary sources and pictorial evidence, which together offer a way of understanding the ceremonial aspects of the nonverbal gestural language of peacemaking. The ceremonies integral to diplomatic efforts will be examined as part of each side’s cultural 'baggage', viewing the course of learning the other’s symbolic language and norms as a process of acculturation. These gestures include the role of extending the right hand in Eastern and Western usage, and the role of gifts as a preliminary stage of diplomacy in the East versus their function as a status-enhancing act at the conclusion of negotiations in the West. Another peace gesture is that of hunting together, rather than engaging on the battlefield.

Examples of this use of gesture come from the Frankish-Egyptian negotiations (1167), Richard the Lionheart's treaty with Saladin, and Mamluk-Frankish treaties in the late thirteenth century. Although mutual rituals were integrated into the language of diplomacy, by and large we are witness to a development whereby the victor tended to impose his norms on the vanquished.

Abstract paper -b: This paper will examine the Jewish subjection to Christian power through gestures that they have to accomplish according to law codes emanating from Church or lay power, or to implicit demands emanating from the people. I will show how these gestures - the Jewish oath for example - played a role in Jewish daily life, and how Jews and Christians reacted to it.