ARCHIVED: Book Prize Awarded to Dean of the College

Sarah Lawrence Dean of the College and scholar of art history, Jerrilynn Dodds, and co-authors Maria Menocal of Yale and Abigail Balbale of Brandeis, have been awarded the 2010 Albert C. Outler book prize for The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture as best publication in “ecumenical church history broadly conceived” by the American Society of Church History (ASCH).

According to Keith A. Francis, the Society’s executive secretary, the book has been praised as a “fascinating and gorgeously illustrated study of interreligious and intercultural relations among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in medieval Castile.” Francis explained that works considered for the prize include “topics relating to the quest for a fuller understanding or unity within Christianity or between Christianity and other religions.”

The prize, which includes a monetary award as well as a commemorative plaque, will be presented an upcoming meeting of the ASCH in April.

Published by Yale University Press, The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture was named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement. It was short-listed for the ACE/Mercers International Book Award, for making an outstanding contribution to the dialogue between religious faith and the visual arts.

According to the publisher, “The lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome.

“The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.”