Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Soifer Irish
Rice University
Website URL
Medieval Spain, Medieval Castile, Jewish-Christian relations, Anti-Jewish riots of 1391
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I work on the history of interfaith relations in medieval Spain and the Mediterranean.  My first book, Jews and Christians in Medieval Castile: Tradition, Coexistence, and Change, was published in 2016 by The Catholic University of America Press. It explores the changes in Jewish-Christian relations in the Iberian kingdom of Castile during the pivotal period of the reconquest and the hundred years that followed the end of its most active phase (eleventh to mid-fourteenth century). Focusing especially on the Christian heartland north of the Duero River, known as Old Castile, the book offers a detailed investigation of the Jews’ changing relations with the monarchy, the church, and the towns.

My next project, with a working title Between Splendor and Tragedy: The Making of Christian Seville in the Fourteenth Century, will examine interfaith coexistence and its breakdown in the century-and-a-half between the conquest of Seville and the anti-Jewish riots of 1391. By focusing on the city that became the epicenter for the riots, she hopes to explore the causes of the violence and explain why Spain was set on the path toward ending its religious pluralism.

In February 2018 I was elected President of the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain for a three-year term (2018-2021).

I am also serving as President of the Fourteenth Century Society (2018-2020).

Recent Publications

Jews and Christians in Medieval Castile: Tradition, Coexistence, and Change (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2016).

“Toward 1391: the anti-Jewish preaching of Ferrán Martínez in Seville.” Ed. Jonathan Adams and Cordelia Hess. The Medieval Roots of Antisemitism: Continuities and Discontinuities From the Middle Ages to the Present Day. Routledge, 2018, 306-319.

“The Problem of Old Debts: Jewish Moneylenders in Northern Castile (Belorado and Miranda de Ebro, ca. 1300).” Sefarad 74 (2), 2014, 279-303.

Tamquam domino proprio: Contesting Ecclesiastical Lordship Over Jews in Thirteenth-Century Castile.” Medieval Encounters 19 (2013), 534-566.

“The Castilian Monarchy and the Jews (11th to 13th Century).” Ed. Katherine L. Jansen, G. Geltner, and Anne E. Lester. Center and Periphery: Studies on Power in the Medieval World in Honor of William Chester Jordan. Leiden: Brill, 2013, 39-49.

“Beyond Convivencia: Critical Reflections on the Historiography of Interfaith Relations in Christian Spain.” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 1 (2009), 19-35.

“‘You say that the Messiah has come…’: the Ceuta Disputation (1179) and Its Place in Christian Anti-Jewish Polemics of the High Middle Ages.” The Journal of Medieval History 31 (2005), 287-307.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Mediterranean, Spain, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Politics, Religion, Urban History