The Judeo-Christian Polemic and the Intelligence of Emotions

Eleazar Gutwirth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay examines the place of emotions and emotional discourse'love, friendship, human kindness, etc.'in selected polemical and literary texts from late medieval Iberia. It suggests that a view of the non-polemical or extra-polemical elements of the texts'especially expressions of emotion, exclamations, interjections, and other examples of passion'provide a novel approach to such material apart from traditional studies of polemical content. A reading that takes into account the multiple themes and traditions beyond polemics that are contained within such texts shows that apparently individual, anecdotic texts are highly dependent on the literary expectations of a public informed by certain cultural conventions. This suggests that polemics and polemical material can be read for much more than their formulaic polemical content, and that literary texts can be read in some cases according to polemical codes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-286
Number of pages21
JournalMedieval Encounters
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Cancionero poetry
  • Jewish-Christian polemics
  • Juan de Dueñas
  • Troubadours
  • emotions
  • late medieval Iberia
  • lyric poetry
  • polemics and literature


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