Debating Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263
Oxford University Press
Publication Date :
20 Oct 2016
In the summer of 1263, Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, ca 1195-1270), who was Aragon (1213-1276) to debate with a Dominican Friar named Paul about specific claims concerning the Messiah in Judaism and Christianity. Friar Paul had converted from Judaism to Christianity as an adult, so he brought with him some knowledge of rabbinic texts, which he used to challenge the faith of Jews in Provence and northern Spain. His strategy was entirely innovative. Using passages from the Talmud, a foundation of Jewish life in the diaspora claimed that Jewish leaders recognized that Jesus was the messiah. The Barcelona dispuation was an officially sanctioned opportunity for Friar Paul to perform this kind of argument. it was conducted in a public forum at the roayal palace before an audience of Jewish and Christian dignitaries The two disputants, each thoroughly convinced of the indisputable truth of his own religious faith and theological interpretations, argued for his position before a panel of judges headed by James I himself. Nina Caputo's new graphic history tells the story of the Barcelona Disputation from Nahmanides' perspective. By combining the visual power of graphics with primary sources, contextualizing essays, historiography, and study questions, Debating Truth explores issues of the nature of truth, interfaith relations, and the complicated dynamics between Christians, Jews and Muslims in the medieval Mediterranean.