Saturday, December 31, 2016

One Example

Credit: Victor A. Keats, Chess in Jewish History, p. 85

Just one example from Victor Keats' book will be seen in his article concerning the Alphonso manuscript, named after Alphonso X, 'the wise' -- that is, notes Keats, the relatively tolerant because he employed Jewish and Muslim scholars.

Not only does Keats give, of course, credit to previous scholars of history in general (Graetz's famous Popular History of the Jews, for example) and chess history in particular (Murray and others) but connected the creation of the manuscript to Alphonso's use of Jewish scholars in his court for other purposes, the relationship between chess as seen in the manuscript and its Arabic sources, and much more.

This is just one example. The book discusses dozens of manuscripts (if not more) with great rigor, but also with an engaging writing style. Keats notes, for instance, that Alphonso 'the wise' was the opposite of his father, Ferdinand 'the saint' -- which meant religious intolerance -- without trying to make him seem as a modern liberal. He notes he steered a fine line between prosecuting the Jews and others so as to not arouse Rome's ire, and being tolerant enough to exploit their talent.

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