Mercedes García-Arenal

Research Professor at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid

Portrait of Mercedes García-Arenal

Mercedes García-Arenal is a Research Professor at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid. García-Arenal is an historian of the medieval and early modern religious history of Iberia and the Muslim West. Her work focuses on religious minorities and interreligious encounters, and includes research into polemics and efforts to convert, diversity within religious groups, and competing notions of religion and group belonging. García-Arenal is the coordinator of the European Research Council Synergy Project ‘The European Qur’an. Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1150-1850 (EuQu)’, a six-year research project (2019-2025) studying the ways in which the Qur’an is embedded in the intellectual, religious, and cultural history of Medieval and Early Modern Europe. She was also Principal Investigator of the ERC Advanced Grant “Conversion, Overlapping Religiosities, Polemics, Interaction: Early Modern Iberia and Beyond (CORPI)” which studied the myriad consequences of the forced conversions that took place in Iberia in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. This project has produced numerous edited volumes of its results, including Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam: Coercion and Faith in Premodern Iberia and Beyond (Brill, 2019), Interreligious Encounters in Polemics between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Iberia and Beyond (Brill, 2019), Polemical Encounters: Polemics between Christians, Jews and Muslims in Iberia and beyond. Iberian Encounter and Exchange, 475–1755 (Penn State University Press, 2019), After Conversion: Iberia and the Emergence of Modernity (Brill, 2016). García-Arenal’s most well-known work, written with Gerard Wiegers, A Man of Three Worlds: Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jew in Catholic and Protestant Europe (Johns Hopkins, 2003), has been translated into Dutch, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic (original Spanish edition: Un hombre en tres mundos, 1999). The Iberian Qur’an: From the Middle Ages to Modern Times (DeGruyter, 2022) is her most recent edited volume and a product of the Synergy Project. García-Arenal was educated at the Universidad Compultense in Madrid, where she earned her Ph.D. in Arabic and Islam. She serves on the board of the Brill series Medieval and Early Modern Iberia, the Edinburgh University Press series on Messianism and Apocalypticism, and the Journal of Early Modern History.

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