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Arabic and Hebrew Love Poems in Al-Andalus

12 October 2013 General 7 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

A self-depiction by the Muslims in Iberia. Taken from the Tale of Bayad and Riyad.

This is definitely on my “to read” shelf. It’s an expensive text, get your local library to purchase a copy.:

Arabic and Hebrew Love Poems in Al-Andalus

Arabic and Hebrew Love Poems in al-Andalus investigates a largely overlooked subset of Muslim and Jewish love poetry in medieval Spain: hetero- and home-erotic love poems written by Muslim and Jewish religious scholars, in which the lover and his sensual experience of the beloved are compared to scriptural characters and storylines.

This book examines the ways in which the scriptural referents fit in with, or differ from, the traditional Andalusian poetic conventions. The study then proceeds to compare the scriptural stories and characters as presented in the poems with their scriptural and exegetical sources. This new intertextual analysis reveals that the Jewish and Muslim scholar-poets utilized their sacred literature in their poems of desire as more than poetic ornamentation; in employing Qur’anic heroes in their secular verses, the Muslim poets presented a justification of profane love and sanctification of erotic human passions. In the Hebrew lust poems, which utilize biblical heroes, we can detect subtle, subversive, and surprisingly placed interpretations of biblical accounts.

Moving beyond the concern with literary history to challenge the traditional boundaries between secular and religious poetry, this book provides a new, multidisciplinary, approach to existing materials and will be of interest to students, scholars and researchers of Islamic and Jewish Studies as well as to those with an interest in Hebrew and Arabic poetry of Islamic Spain.


  1. This looks like a beautiful book. I am interested in knowing more about when and how any interdictions of depicting human and animal likenesses came about and whether there is a current interdiction. I have read varying accounts.

  2. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity lived side-by-side peacefully in pre-inquisition Spain. It was beautiful. <3

  3. Islam is vile and needs removal lol

  4. Jeanne you are vile and disgusting the only thing that this earth needs to get rid of is you. Probably send back to mars or where the hell ever it is that you came from.

  5. its interesting to note that apparently it was just this type of thing that inspired European courtesan type romantic ideas that the West now stereotypes in literature and history.

  6. Dig deep — cheapest copy is $145 online.

  7. Sufis, habiba!

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